This week Detroit Today has been looking at the effects of the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in 2010. To cap off the week’s discussions, host Stephen Henderson speaks with an insurance provider in the region and a hospital administrator about whether Obamacare has made providing care easier or more difficult.
“The Affordable Care Act has clearly been an economic boon for hospitals” in states that accepted Medicaid expansion like Michigan, says Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Chief Administration Officer Conrad Mallett. “It has been a very, very, very welcome support for the hospitals, no question about it.”
Mallett says policy affecting insurance coverage alone can’t fully address the issues of health and affordability of care.
“If poverty is a treatable condition, then there are a variety of things that we have to do to treat the condition, including making you more healthy,” he says. “But we probably may also have to figure out, are your lights on? Do you have water? Do you have a stable housing situation? Are you caring for a grandchild that has, perhaps, special needs? What is your circumstance that is affecting your health? And then creating around this person a relatively seamless way to manage all of these issues effectively.”
“Affordability is the key challenge as we move forward with the act,” says Matt Walsh, COO of Health Alliance Plan (HAP). Walsh says everyone in the insurance industry agrees there are tweaks that need to be made to the make plans more affordable.
Walsh says part of the expense of having health coverage is due to advancements in medicine that allow people to live longer.
“The cost that Americans are paying for [better medicine and longer lifespan] is exorbitant.”
To hear more of Walsh and Mallett speaking with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson, click on the audio player above.