By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
About 100 people gathered at St. Joseph London hospital Tuesday afternoon to listen to Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Hal Rogers discuss upcoming health care reform.
It was their latest appearance in the Tri-County area, with both men having held similar sessions within recent weeks marked by criticism of the Affordable Care Act.
Rogers took the floor first, citing his concerns about the affect the act will have on small businesses and individuals in Kentucky.
“It’s a well-known fact that our region faces incredible challenges from obesity, diabetes, cancer, drug abuse and a host of other health issues and that is why we have to stay up-to-date on medical technology and services that can be very expensive,” Rogers said.
“For all the strides we have made in rural health in the last few years, I am afraid current dictates from Washington threaten to erode the great foundation that you have built here. Many of the mandates of Obamacare increase the cost of providing health care and pose huge challenges for our rural hospitals,” Rogers said. He told the audience that a month ago he had cast the 40th vote to repeal or defund “Obamacare.”
“We have passed it in the House 40 times and then Harry Reid in the Senate throws it in the wastebasket when it gets sent over there,” Rogers said.
Rogers gave an example of what he said were “shocks” people would experience once health care reform goes into effect.
“Small businesses and individuals in Kentucky and everywhere will see some of the nation’s largest increase in insurance premiums. The estimated increase is between 65 to 100 percent,” Rogers said.
Another shock that Rogers cited was the “promise” the health care reform would not get between patients and their doctors.
“But you may not get to keep your doctor if you select the wrong exchange policy program,” Rogers said. Rogers also spoke of his concern that after the health care act was passed, more than 300,000 people in Kentucky would be added to Medicaid.
“My question is, who is going to pay for it? I think I am looking at them,” Rogers said, adding that he also did not know how facilities and medical staff would provide for all the new Medicaid patients.
“If Obamacare is put in place perfectly and works as it was dreamt about by Obama, we will still have 30 million Americans without insurance,” Rogers said as his final “shock.” He said he believes since the employer mandate of health insurance had been delayed by a year, that individuals ought to have that same delay.
McConnell began by saying that Medicare and Social Security were largely passed on a bipartisan basis.
“In other words, it was a meeting of the minds that these very significant pieces of legislation needed passed and was done on a bipartisan basis. Obamacare did not enjoy the support of a single Republican of the House or Senate and I assure you it was not just because we were viscerally opposed to anything the president might choose to do. It was because it was an extraordinary mistake,” McConnell said, adding that it will reduce reimbursements to hospitals, home health care and hospice by $750 billion over the next 10 years and raise taxes on health insurance premiums and medical devices.
“When it is all said and done, the goal of everyone having health care insurance is not met. The mayor said he hoped to have some answers today, but there are no answers … no one knows what is in it, not those who wrote it and not those who try to read it,” McConnell said.
He said the only “sensible solution” is to “pull it out root and branch and start all over.”
When asked by an audience member what he would have done differently to reform health care, McConnell replied there were two things that should be done.
“The first is to reform medical malpractice and the second would be to pit health insurance companies nation-wide against each other in national competition.
“This would drive the prices down and keep the quality up,” McConnell said.
Both he and Rogers told the audience they would continue to try to “improve the health care field.”
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
- Local News
10 arrested for drugs after investigation
Ten people were arrested Thursday following a three-month investigation of illegal drug activity, according to Kentucky State Police Post 11 — London Public Affairs Officer Trooper Lloyd Cochran.
Jury trial May 14 for man in murder case
A man facing murder charges after the December 2012 beating death of a Corinth Community man appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Thursday.
Police Roundup - April 18, 2014
Two parents were charged with child endangerment early Thursday after they walked to Wal-Mart in North Corbin with a toddler, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
Council members approve budget amendment
Barbourville City Council members held the second reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Thursday — with no one there to hear it.
London-Laurel Tourism Commission budget approved
The 2014-2015 budget for the London-Laurel County Tourism Commission was approved at Tuesday’s meeting, according to Co-Director Kim Collier.
London-Laurel Chamber holds monthly meeting
The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting Thursday afternoon at the Jackson Energy Cooperative Community Room.
Budget amendment gets first read
Barbourville City Council members held the first reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Wednesday.
Community garden meeting coming April 25
Some folks in Knox County are looking at bringing some green space to Barbourville, and they need some help. But first, they’ll have an informational meeting on the community garden project next Friday, April 25.
Crash on Wyan Road seriously injures two
Two men remain in a Lexington hospital with serious injuries Wednesday, after they were involved in a one-car crash west of London Tuesday evening.
Public meeting at Goldbug Vol. Fire and Rescue Dept.
A public meeting is slated for 8 p.m. tonight at Goldbug Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, located at 869 Highway 26, Williamsburg.
- More Local News Headlines
- 10 arrested for drugs after investigation