Damages from Medicaid Politics Won't Stop at Hospitals

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 3, 2013

"The state legislators don't want to listen to us because they think the CEOs have a vested interest in this thing. Yeah, we do have a vested interest because we are responsible for making this place work," Zechman says. "But the legislators will perk up when they start hearing from constituents that they have lost their job and/or they can't access services anymore. Then it will start resonating."

"It is highly politicized and that is what is so sad about it. It hurts the most vulnerable and the poor and at the end of the day that is where we'll end up," he says. "I personally lean to the right more than the left, but I am thinking 'my gosh,' sometimes at the end of the day you have to realize this is it. Let's go!' I have to put on my CEO hat and do what's best for the community."

Zechman says resistance to the Medicaid expansion will eventually crumble "but there will be blood on people's hands first."

"They are going to have to live with that," he says. "I am going to do everything I can to save peoples jobs and to save services but there will come a point when we are not going to be able to do that and I know that. I am not trying to blame anybody else. I take total responsibility for what I have to do here. But honestly, there is going to be blood out there before this thing caves and that will be the tragedy of this thing."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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