Advancing Medicine in Tough Economic Times

Advancing Medicine in Tough Economic Times

It is satisfying to see that some components of the new healthcare reform law are now in place, including coverage for young adults under parents’ policies and fixes to the “doughnut hole” in senior prescription coverage. However, coverage for an additional 1.3 million New Jersey residents will not kick in until 2014. During that time, all hospitals will undergo substantial cuts in Medicare funding—dollars that will eventually go to help pay for the now uninsured.

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As president of the New Jersey Hospital Association Board of Trustees, I’ve come to appreciate the challenges experienced by hospital providers throughout the state. While New Jersey hospitals provided $2.6 billion in community health programs, education, free or discounted healthcare services for the needy and uninsured in 2009, facilities are struggling to overcome the recession. Half of the state’s hospitals have cut back staff and 25 percent have reduced services.

The economy and healthcare reform are certain to play a significant role in the upcoming elections. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, about one-third of the Senate and many local governing body posts are up for grabs. No matter which part of the political spectrum you fall on, I encourage you to participate in the election process and vote on Nov. 2. Every ballot cast makes a difference.

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