What the Affordable Care Act means for hospitals

Providing care support
Care guides Allison Bohn, right, and Jane Skinner talk by phone with patients at Abbott Northwestern General Medicine Associates in Minneapolis, Minn. Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Each care guide provides support to about 180 patients and their families at the Minneapolis clinic.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

The re-election of President Obama guaranteed that the country will be moving forward with the Affordable Care Act. For hospitals that means big changes in the way they get paid.

Shares in publicly-held hospitals increased in value after the election. From Reuters:

Investors see the greatest potential benefit going to hospitals, which have been burdened with high debt loads from covering medical care for the uninsured. As more of these patients receive health coverage, hospitals will pay less out of their own pockets.

"Their bad debts will not be as big starting in 2014 as millions of more people become insured. They'll either be covered by Medicaid or purchase insurance through state exchanges, and will receive government subsidies," said Michael Liss, a portfolio manager for American Century Investments.

At the same time, safety-net hospitals that treat many uninsured patients worry about decreased compensation.

Abbott Northwestern President Ben Bache-Wiig joins the Daily Circuit to talk about his hospital is approaching changes driven by the Affordable Care Act.

On the blog: How to talk to your doctor

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