|By Kellie Schmitt AND John Cox, The Bakersfield Californian|
"There are wins and losses in it," said
On the win side, more insured users equals more payments for the health system and expanded coverage for the county's residents. But it comes at a price: dramatically reduced DSH funding, federal money given to hospitals that take care of a disproportionate share of non-paying patients.
While more people will be covered under
"We're not one of the wealthy counties," McNaughton said. "We're very much on the frontline of seeing a high proportion of indigent care."
In addition, hospitals will still be required to take care of uninsured who come through their emergency room doors -- such as illegal immigrants who won't be covered under the reform.
Cooper said she was relieved to hear Thursday's decision, which will allow her to keep implementing the so-called bridge to reform program in
"There's a lot of work to be done, but I think it's very valuable for all of
Cooper has been working with the
For a county that struggles with high numbers of uninsured individuals, the move will eventually mean better care and cost savings, she predicted.
On the business side, the dean of
Emery pointed to potential benefits for employers, saying some may choose not to offer health benefits directly to their workers and instead contribute to regional health networks. He said that adds flexibility and could save some businesses money.
In another possible benefit for business, he said, private health insurance premiums are likely to be less reflective of the extra costs hospitals now face when caring for uninsured patients.
"I guess one way to put that," he said, "is that the overcharging or overpricing to people or organizations that have health care coverage already will probably go down."
Political reaction to the
"The Court's ruling makes one thing clear -- it is up to