Three Catholic hospitals in Pennsylvania recently went up for sale with conflicting statements on the reason. Originally, the CEO claimed that new regulations in the health care law contributed to the sale, but he later recanted that statement after pressure from the Catholic Health Association, a powerful special interest and staunch supporter of the health care law.

The reality is that these Catholic hospitals relied heavily on the senior demographics in the surrounding communities, and these demographics widely utilize Medicare for their health care needs. The new health care law pays for itself partially through $500 billion in Medicare cuts, leaving hospitals and patients that rely on Medicare high and dry. The Catholic health system will be adversely affected because they treat primarily those in need, who incidentally are also those who often utilize Medicare.

Hospitals in Texas, too, are very sensitive to reductions in Medicare reimbursements, especially in areas with a high proportion of elderly. In the Bryan/College Station and Tyler areas alone, there are more than 20,000 citizens over the age of 65 and with Catholic hospitals that serve them, including the large St. Joseph health system. These hospitals and these citizens are now at risk due to the new health care law, and what started in Pennsylvania will certainly not end there.

– Spencer Harris