Healthcare is a topic of both heavy debate and significant concern for citizens around the country. Requirements set forth by the Affordable Care Act are often cited as a part of this debate.

Congressman Dan Benishek visited both Marquette General Hospital and Bell Hospital Friday to touch base with hospital administrators about how the new law is affecting them. Benishek’s main concerns are reimbursement cuts.

“The Affordable Care Act is cutting Medicare reimbursements to our local hospitals,” Benishek said.  “Marquette County is facing $133 million in reimbursement cuts over the next ten years, and all of our small hospitals in Northern Michigan are being affected, as well as Marquette General.”

Benishek said this aspect of the ACA has already resulted in significant layoffs at other hospitals in the district, including one in St. Ignace.  He also noted that other aspects of the act, such as the added expense of electronic health records, are affecting private physicians.

“I’ve taken care of patients here in Northern Michigan for 30 years.  I understand how reimbursement affects physicians and hospitals, and you know, how people are going to have to change with the Affordable Care Act, and hopefully we will be able to continue to provide good healthcare for Northern Michigan.”

Benishek’s visit additionally served as an effort to develop a relationship with area hospitals.