Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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May 30, 2014

Data shows ACA paying off at Glasgow hospital

FRANKFORT — On April 16 of this year, the interim CEO of T.J. Samson Hospital in Glasgow announced layoffs of about 49 employees and short-term salary reductions for most remaining staff.

At the time, Henry Royse told the Glasgow Daily Times that part of the problem was the added cost of the new enrollees in the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as its critics call it. He also placed blame on a failed upgrade of software programs at the hospital.

Since then, Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, one of the ACA’s fiercest critics, has used the example of T.J. Samson as evidence of the law’s failings.

But data kept by the state tell a different story. In fact, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the hospital will take in significantly more money this year because of the Medicaid expansion.

Royse said Friday afternoon he stands by his original statement that the expansion is costing the hospital money and planned to discuss with the cabinet the numbers provided to CNHI News. He plans to consult with the cabinet on Monday about the numbers.

Paul was also asked Friday if hospitals weren’t actually receiving reimbursements under the new law for the same patients they treated without compensation in the past.

Paul responded by pointing to Royse’s comments reported by the Glasgow Daily Times in April and said, “All I know is what I read in the papers.”

The law is an issue in this year’s U.S. Senate campaign between Kentucky’s other Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell wants to repeal “Obamacare,” which he says is the worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years.

The law’s complexity – as well as the complex billing procedures for medical services that have existed for years – makes it hard to decipher the numbers.

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