HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
There has been a daily drumbeat of derisiveness toward the Affordable Care Act in the news.
Problems have plagued Obamacare since its October 1 rollout.
Some are saying delay it. Others are saying repeal it.
But if hospitals could talk, they'd be saying don't you dare touch it.
Andy Carter, President and CEO of the Hospital & Healthsystems Association of Pennsylvania, said hospitals are relying on the ACA. They want it. They need it.
He says hospitals in Pennsylvania write off $1 billion a year because uninsured people show up in emergency rooms.
Carter's convinced Obamacare will cure that ill and everything else that ails a hospital's bottom line.
"The Affordable Care Act will get us to a place where virtually everybody has insurance," Carter said at a Harrisburg luncheon hosted by the Pennsylvania Press Club. "They'll be able to pay the bill and that's fair because if they're not paying the bill ultimately other people are covering the costs."
Carter's enthusiasm for ACA wasn't shared by everyone at Monday's luncheon.
"Obamacare is in many cases hurting people" said Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga).
Baker is the Chairman of the House Health Committee and he shared a constituent's recent email.
The small business owner had insurance at $400 a month. The carrier canceled the policy because it did not meet Obamacare minimum standards, but to replace it was gonna cost $1,200 a month. It tripled in price and Baker says it's happening to millions nationwide.
"The promise of keeping your insurance if you like it, isn't there," Baker said. "That is a failed promise. The affordability of Obamacare is not there as well."
On October 1, when Obamacare health exchanges opened, abc27 told the story of Terry Bigler. He's from Shippensburg and, like Baker's constituent, a small business owner who had a policy at $521 a month that was being canceled by his carrier for failing to meet Obamacare standards.
Bigler was told to expect a new policy cost of $1,200 a month, but he can't confirm that. He told us Monday that he's tried unsuccessfully nearly every day on the Obamacare website to get a quote, but can't get through.
"People are getting hurt by Obamacare," Baker insists. "The Hippocratic oath is 'do no harm.' Well, we're seeing quite the opposite."
But Carter insists growing pains are to be expected and Americans will be better off once Affordable Care is up and running.
"It's been a rough start, but many big, new things have rough starts," Carter said. "What I'm looking forward to, and the whole hospital community is looking forward to, is getting through this rough patch, and on the other side of it we expect to have calm waters."