While military spending and budget cuts consumed most of the conversation during a senator’s visit to Killeen on Tuesday, the state of America’s health care also was mentioned.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, campaigned as a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obama-care.” Since taking office in January, he has continually fought to repeal the law, even if it meant October’s government shutdown.
On Tuesday, the CEOs of Seton Medical Center Harker Heights and Metroplex Health Systems attended the roundtable discussion hosted by the senator at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Each man said they hoped to hear more discussion on the issue.
Matt Maxfield, CEO of Seton, said he does not believe the health care law is a “favorable solution” for his hospital, which opened in Heights about 18 months ago.
Maxfield said he told Cruz about his concerns, including the impact of the 2 percent cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals and the rising cost of insurance premiums for many local businesses, which are passed on to employees.
“While these (Medicare) cuts have been implemented and the effects felt, we have not received any benefit from expanded coverage of the uninsured in this community,” he said.
Carlyle Walton, CEO at Metroplex in Killeen, wasn’t able to comment on what he heard from Cruz, because it was briefly discussed, he said.
However, last year he spoke with the Herald about the law, calling it a “good start” to keep health care spending from becoming unsustainable.
“The reality is we have to find ways to bend that cost curve. And I see the (law) as a very good start,” he said. “It is far from perfect, at making us have the conversation how we can take care of what is unsustainable. I don’t get caught up in what might happen. I deal with what is on my plate.”