Possible cuts in healthcare on congressional chopping block

Government cuts and healthcare


President Obama is calling on congressional leaders to meet his Friday in order to figure out a way to avoid automatic cuts in spending.

With Friday being the deadline those cuts will go into effect, both Democrats and Republicans are still in a deadlock over the issue with Republicans rejecting Obama's push toward avoiding the sequester, calling his measures "scare tactics".

Today local health professionals outlined how these possible cuts could impact healthcare if a deal is not made by the March 1 deadline.

"We do have more wiggle room when it comes to the financial stability of the hospital," LHP Hospital Group Division President Paul Kappelman said during today's press conference.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of LHP Hospital Group, which is a national company that owns various hospitals around the country. Not only has the Portneuf Medical Center been LHP's most successful vicinity, but was also the first to partner with LHP more than four years ago.

Kappelman said he owes much of PMC's success to the unsurpassed amount of capital invested into the hospital which, he said, will enable it to sustain itself and remain somewhat immune to the impending cuts.

However, since the healthcare field is one of the largest sources of jobs in the area, he says not expanding Medicaid could also mean a significant hit to the local economy.

"I think it's important that the business community be talking to their legislature, be talking to their governor about the importance of expanding Medicaid and making sure more people have access to healthcare coverage because not only does it effect the hospital's quality of care, but it effects the economy because we're a large source of jobs in this region," Kappelman said.

But these congressional deadlocks and scare tactics are nothing new to political analysts who say neither side is solely to blame.

"Something does have to be done and it is having an immediate impact on people and people's lives right now," Idaho State University Political Science Professor Dr. Donna Lybecker said. "Budgets are being shifted, positions are not being filled, and people have a reason to be nervous."

Despite the significant programs awaiting their fate on the congressional chopping-block at the moment, Kappelman said there is no sign of jobs being cut under the hospital group in the near future.

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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