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Medicaid Providers In Connecticut Await Big Changes

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Health care providers are among those waiting nervously for the U.S. Senate to reveal just how it wants to reform health care. The impact could be greatest on those providers who serve low income populations.

The negotiations around the Senate’s version of a health care bill are being held behind closed doors, and among a very small group of people. By some reports, only 13 Republican senators have a say in the process, and there have been no public hearings.

That makes both patients, and people involved in the health care industry, fearful.

“If there was more transparency around the content, and the negotiations that shape the bill that finally comes to the floor, at least we have some sense of what the content is, and can determine -- or at least estimate -- the impact on our organizations, and the patients we serve,” said Michael Taylor, CEO of the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center in New Haven.

The Center is what’s known as a federally-qualified facility, meaning many of its patients rely on either Medicaid or Medicare. In fact, Taylor said some 85 percent of his clients participate in a government program.

“We, as federally qualified health centers, treat segments of our population that are vulnerable -- that have limited resources -- so when there is policy change like this, it really can very significantly and negatively impact the quality of people’s lives,” Taylor told WNPR.

The House-passed version of the bill, the American Health Care Act, significantly rolls back the Medicaid expansion that was a key part of Obamacare. That saves the government hundreds of billions of dollars, but removes health insurance from a large slice of Cornell Scott-Hill's patient population.

Those are people, Taylor said, who -- under the Affordable Care Act -- were able for the first time to access things like preventive services and primary care.

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