Debate continues over healthcare, Medicaid funding - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Debate continues over healthcare, Medicaid funding

Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas (Source: KAIT) Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas (Source: KAIT)
POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) -

The current debate over healthcare in the United States has included discussions over the future of the Medicaid program. 

With the debate, some area hospitals are concerned about what the future may hold for them. 

Five Rivers Medical Center CEO Luther Lewis said Thursday that the hospital sees about 15% of the people in Randolph County who are on Medicaid. With the visits, there is also an increase in funding. 

Lewis said the hospital has used the funding to update and modernize its facilities.

Officials there are concerned that if the Affordable Care were to be repealed, the hospital could face layoffs and a $800,000 to $1 million loss each year.

"Before Obamacare, our bed debt was running about 10 percent so it will go back up to that. Since it has been implemented, it has dropped to 3 percent so it would be a significant cost to us if the Obamacare Medicaid went away," Lewis said. 

Lewis said he is hopeful that the federal government can find a middle ground on the issue, instead of getting rid of the program. 

However, many of the state's governors and others in Congress have argued that current funding levels are unsustainable and have asked that the decision-making process be brought back to the states with block grants. 

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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