Congressman Dan Benishek is continuing his tour of Upper Peninsula hospitals this week.
He arrived at Munising Memorial Hospital Tuesday morning to talk to hospital administrators about the effects the Affordable Care Act is having on their operations. One area of concern for the 11 bed facility is a current shortage of physicians available for recruitment, which Benishek attributes to cuts in payments to providers.
“It’s tough for a student to get through school, finish school at maybe in their thirties, and then, you know, not be able to earn the money to pay back their loans,” Benishek said. “So I think it’s diminishing the amount of people that are going into medicine, and it’s making a problem all around the state, to tell you the truth.”
Officials at Munising Memorial Hospital also voiced their enthusiasm for the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which has been crucial to the hospital’s success.
“Well that’s sort of a technical program that allows hospitals to buy drugs at a lower cost,” said Benishek. “That’s been in place for a long time. Making sure that that stays an option for local hospitals is something I’ve been supporting right along.”
Benishek added that some parts of the ACA have been beneficial, including access to a parent’s healthcare until age 26 and coverage for people with preexisting diseases, but believes that such benefits can be accomplished without having the government in charge of healthcare.
The Congressman will visit Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow, followed by stops at St. Ignace and Petoskey to continue touching base with hospitals regarding their needs and concerns.