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Quad City hospitals call for changes to “bad” health legislation

DAVENPORT -

Area hospitals say that repealing and replacing Obamacare is proving to be a tough hill to climb.

"There are those who think it's too Draconian, and those who think it is too liberal," said Ken Croken, Genesis Health System, on Wednesday, June 28.

Health care providers held a news conference to talk about legislation that stalled in the Senate without enough votes to pass.

"If you've solved the problem for me, you've probably made it worse for others," Croken continued.

The Affordable Care Act is now insuring some 220,000 Iowans who previously lacked coverage.

Providers say that's reducing expensive emergency room visits while offering more screenings and preventative care.

"We've seen precipitous drops in charity care in Iowa hospitals because people are insured," said Iowa Hospital Association CEO Kirk Morris.

But Morris also warns that those services could disappear if Senate reforms ultimately hold up.

"It will have a devastating effect on Iowa," he continued.  "It will have a devastating effect on the state government's budget."

Community Health Care experienced a 20% jump in Medicaid patients since 2009.  Proposed cuts, however, threaten neighbors, families and friends in every neighborhood.

"95% of the patients we see here are also employed and working, many times, multiple jobs," said Community Health Care CEO Tom Bowman. "They just don't make a lot of money."

The delayed vote is opening a window for hospitals to seize the moment and push for change.

"While the Affordable Care Act was not perfect, it was close that there could have been opportunities to fix it," said UnityPoint Health-Trinity President and CEO Rick Seidler.

Hospitals are using the legislative impasse to lobby lawmakers before it ultimately comes up for a vote.

"We would like to see politics move aside and actually policy reform come in," said Genesis Health System President and CEO Doug Cropper.

As they put it, health coverage for more than 20 million Americans depends on it.