Monday, September 30, 2013

Is Cleveland Clinic adding to Obamacare hysteria?

I’m not one to be all doom and gloom – well, maybe a little – but you have to admit this Obamacare hysteria might have some legs.

The Cleveland Clinic announced recently it will cut $330 million from its budget because it anticipates taking big hit on annual revenue.

“Some of the initiatives include offering early retirement to 3,000 eligible employees, reducing operational costs, stricter review of filling vacant positions, and lastly workforce reductions,” said Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who was quoted by numerous media sources.

Or, translated and paraphrased: “Of course we’re going to cut jobs – a lot of them.”

(Note to parents: You might want to rethink the previously sound advice you gave to your kids to seek a healthcare career.)

If you live in Greater Cleveland, or northeastern Ohio for that matter, your path likely will cross with that of the clinic, which owns and operates many of the formerly independent hospitals in all directions.

Indeed, the clinic is Ohio’s second largest employer behind Wal-Mart, which by the way doesn’t provide healthcare coverage to most of its employees. That’s rather ironic, don’t you think?

According to Reuters, the Cleveland Clinic is the largest provider in Ohio of Medicaid health coverage for the poor, the program that will expand to cover uninsured Americans under Obamacare.

“We know we are going to be reimbursed less,” Sheil said.

OK, if Obamacare is going to have that kind of an impact on the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, what happens to the smaller independent (or nearly independent) hospitals that serve our smaller communities in Tuscarawas and Holmes counties?

That’s right. Obamacare probably isn’t good news for them either.

Already, I’m hearing that finding a doctor is becoming increasingly difficult in this area because doctors are as worried about Obamacare as anyone and would rather wait and see what the future holds than take on new patients (and their potential additional financial liabilities) now.

Obamacare is actually the Affordable Care Act, and there’s plenty of information online – some good, some bad. Here’s the White House’s link to the official line, which you probably ought to check out first:

We’ll see how all this shakes out over the next few weeks, months and years. It looms as the defining issue for measuring the worth of Obama’s presidency, and frankly a lot of people are counting down the days until it’s over.

Every time I see John McCain on the news, I wonder if some day, in his memoirs, he will admit to the mistake he made by agreeing to have Sarah Palin as a running mate. I think if he had selected someone who was not so divisive – a moderate – he probably would have won the presidency.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, during the season finale of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” star Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy summed up rather nicely the GOP’s problem with reacquiring the White House and why a lot of moderate Republicans are troubled with the current state of things.

McAvoy was asked by a Republican strategist during an election night program if he was a Republican because it gave him credibility when he criticized the party.

“No, I call myself a Republican because I am one,” he said.

“I believe in market solutions and common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world and that’s about it.

“The problem is now I have to be homophobic.

“I have to count the number of times people go to church.

“I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con.

“I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride.

“And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect … in the 21st century.

“But most of all, the biggest new requirement, really the only requirement, is that I have to hate Democrats.
“And I have to hate Chris Christie for not spitting on the president when he got off of Air Force One.

“The two-party system is crucial to the whole operation. There is honor in being the loyal opposition. And I’m a Republican for the same reasons you are.”

Daniels/McAvoy is right. We need a strong two-party system in this country without the hate.

There I go again.

Dick Farrell writes this column weekly for the Bargain Hunter.

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