An Arkansas hospital announced this week that they will be closing their doors. Crittenden Regional Hospital, located in West Memphis, AR, will shut down operations on September 7th, according to a statement from the hospital’s board of directors. But it was never supposed to happen. The ObamaCare “Private Option” was supposed to save the state’s hospitals that were struggling financially.
In May, just days before a heated Arkansas primary where the ObamaCare Private-Option Expansion was playing a key role in the political debate, Arkansas Hospital Association CEO Bo Ryall told a legislative committee that the expansion was the cure for what ailed hospitals in the state:
“…we certainly need the private option for our rural hospitals to survive,” he said. Ryall noted rural hospital closings in Georgia and Alabama. “We don’t want to see that happen in Arkansas,” he said. “We thank you as legislators for passing the private option. We think it’s helping your constituents and helping your local hospitals.”
Just after the “Private Option” passed, an Arkansas legislator who supported the ObamaCare expansion defended his vote by arguing that “insurance, wealth, Medicare, Medicaid, and charity are of little value if hospitals are closed and care is limited.”
But another political power player also made the case that ObamaCare expansion had the power to keep hospitals open — the CEO of Crittenden Regional Hospital, Gene Cashman. At the end of June, Cashman said:
“Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act and the state’s response to it with the private option are helping…Without the Arkansas private option, we would not be standing here.”
Fast forward a few short months, the Crittenden hospital is closing its doors and Cashman just made a stunning admission — ObamaCare’s billions can’t save the hospital:
“Even the expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas and impressive enrollment rates in the Private Option by citizens in the service area were not enough to overcome these issues.”
Cashman cited “a changing health care industry, a recovering economy and one of the toughest reimbursement climates in the nation” — all problems which ObamaCare will make worse.
A look at the group’s most recently available 990s show that they received nearly $4 million from taxpayers in the form of government grants in 2011 and 2012 combined. In addition, local taxpayers were poised to shell out another $30 million over the next five years to float the hospital. And of course taxpayers everywhere will spend well over $1 billion this year on an expansion program that was supposed to keep these hospitals open. It’s just another broken promise of the Arkansas ObamaCare expansion.