One year from now, in January 2014, much of the tenets of the Affordable Care Act and California’s unrelated but no less overarching Medical Managed Care system will have been implemented and in place.
But just 12 months away, there is still much uncertainly, fear and anger surrounding how these reforms to longstanding practices of public and private health care as we know it will affect Imperial County. It isn’t entirely clear what to expect on behalf of our residents across the socioeconomic spectrum, on behalf of hospitals and the doctors who provide services, as well as the small businesses in this country now expected to provide coverage for their employees.
Obamacare, after President Barack Obama, is being feared and scorned in equal numbers.
Yet that is only half the story, and it’s an incomplete story whose ending has yet to be written. Because for all the criticisms of what is to come and what the reform doesn’t do, and for all the cheers of how Obamacare does something that many other First-World countries have already done in providing universal health care, there is no true measuring stick in either direction.
Locally the reluctance to speak about these changes, to talk about how they are being embraced or even begrudgingly dealt with, is almost understandable. There is a certain amount of guarded political correctness in the comments we hear from medical officials, obviously, in an effort not to say their true feelings about the reform. El Centro Regional Medical Center and the Imperial County Medical Society leadership have taken the easy path and clammed up, which is unfortunate and a disservice to the community they treat.
We understand the reform will hurt the hospitals and the doctors, they will be asked to do more for less, but we believe the residents, businesses and other health care professionals would like some insight from the major representatives of medicine and health care locally.
At its core, no one would begrudge the fact that many Americans now without health care will have a whole new door opened up to them. That is the good news, that the safety net has been expanded, the uninsured helped to be made whole.
But there are the business concerns, the logistical nightmares, the unclear directives from the government, and the promise of higher expectations and lower rewards that put the good news in a decidedly grim light.
On the pages of this edition, we have attempted to give voice to some of these concerns and to try to provide clarity in a very unclear setting. It’s not easy, because even those answering the questions and providing the insight are doing so through dirty glasses and squinted eyes.
Yet the Affordable Care Act, California’s Medical Managed Care, these are the laws of the land now, for better or for worse. It’s up to the public and private sectors, the health care providers and the small businesses to make it work to a positive end. We’re sure it will, but what that will look like next year and in the months and years of assessment after, or at what cost, is a waiting game.
Local officials weigh in on Obamacare.
With one year till implementation, there is much uncertainty.
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