Home | News | EDITORIAL: ACA has left medical centers in need of help
  • 10 Jun
  • EDITORIAL: ACA has left medical centers in need of help

    Ever since the Supreme Court gave the Affordable Care Act its blessing, the hand-washing at many hospitals has been replaced by hand-wringing as administrators have complained ceaselessly about the various requirements they're forced to take on to comply with the law.

    Ever since the Supreme Court gave the Affordable Care Act its blessing, the hand-washing at many hospitals has been replaced by hand-wringing as administrators have complained ceaselessly about the various requirements they're forced to take on to comply with the law.

     

    So we’re pleased to see what’s going on at Morristown Medical Center, where the foundation for the hospital is working to raise $100 million to help maintain the hospital’s services as administrators take on the expenses associated with the ACA. Well-heeled supporters began their quest to come up with the funding back in 2012, when the ACA and the doom and gloom surrounding it were front-page news. Now, the foundation has put together nearly $80 million toward that target.

    While the funding will go to support a number of areas under the hospital’s umbrella, this is the kind of support that medical centers are going to need if they are going to get over the costly early goings of the process that are required to, hopefully, accomplish the legislation’s lofty goals.

    The recession and subsequent recovery, if you call it that, have been incredibly hard on nonprofits, which have had to downsize as they work to — like most companies — do more with less. This has been a particular problem for hospitals, which have had to deal with those pressures plus an increasing load of uninsured patients. The ACA, of course, has magnified the problems for hospitals, and the wave of for-profit takeovers of nonprofit hospitals is evidence of how tightly hospitals are being squeezed. The fact that Morristown has resisted such a takeover is due to the strength of its parent, Atlantic Health System, and the generosity of its foundation. More hospitals are going to need this kind of local fundraising activism to stay strong as the financial challenges of the ACA mount.

    Don’t tell this to Republicans in Congress, but there’s no going back on the ACA. Despite the massive costs involved — at a painful time to hospitals — the legislation is badly needed medicine for a health care system in need of ways to tackle some of the causes of the escalating costs of care. In the past, we have supported for-profits coming in to run financially failing nonprofit hospitals that otherwise would close, but this kind of fundraiser is a powerful tool, also. We hope other communities find a way to lend this kind of badly needed support.