When it comes to sorting out federal health care reforms, the devil is in the details. However, some health officials say those details are hard to find so far.
Following President Obama's nationwide push for reform, Scott Polenz of Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville says he's getting conflicting information about the Administration's intentions. He says the ideas sound good, with a focus cutting costs and increasing quality.
While short on specifics, Polenz thought Obama's speech last week in Green Bay was very good. It seemed the President shared hospital professionals' fears that a single-payer system wasn't the best option.
Since then, he received an email from the Wisconsin Hospitals Association saying they've learned the Administration plans to pay for the much-talked about "public option" with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Polenz says that would be dramatic and he can't see how it would actually work. He adds that Medicare or Medicaid are already notorious for not paying the full cost of coverage, and cutting those payments could make it hard for many hospitals to survive.
On the other hand, hospitals are seeing an even worse scenario right now, as people without coverage aren't paying their bills at all. Polenz says having everyone under insurance would help to deal with some of those problems.
Obama indicated last week he'd like a government insurance program that would compete with private companies.