Confusion about the Affordable Care Act still looms large, a top Carson City hospital executive said Tuesday.
“It’s highly confusing still,” said Ed Epperson, president and CEO of Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, who talked as though reality keeps receding and uncertainty isn’t fading. Speaking at the Rotary Club in the Carson Nugget, Epperson said a health care advisory group had ranked ACA delays and postponements the No. 2 health-related news story of 2013.
“There’s more confusion than there was at the start of 2013,” he said regarding fallout from the ACA, which also is referred to as Obamacare.
The news story that was rated tops by the same group, he said, was about problems with the Obamacare health insurance exchange. In Nevada, the state bypassed that national exchange and provided a state alternative, but the data on it is not much better, he said.
“On the local level, again, we still don’t know,” Epperson said.
For example, there is insufficient information to identify who has signed up, where they are in the state or with whom they are insured, Epperson said. One thing he did note as a known, however, is that the sign-up rate for the private insurance pool on the state exchange was half that of the Medicaid rate. That 2-to-1 ratio was the opposite of what had been expected, he said.
Epperson expressed no surprise with a recent national news story about more people, rather than fewer, showing up at emergency rooms of late. He indicated that aspect in part results from too few physicians.
“We already have a physician shortage in the nation and, I can tell you, we have a physician shortage locally,” he said.
Bottom line, Epperson said, hospital personnel and others in health care aren’t whining but need adequate information to determine how they should proceed.
“What’s the reality,” he asked rhetorically, “and let’s get on with it.”
During a question-and-answer period, Epperson was asked if he sees more collaboration going forward to get people to the right places and providers.
He replied that he did but added, “But it’s hard to do.”