Acton Institute Powerblog

Death And Dying Just Got Harder Thanks to Obamacare

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe that hospice is a good idea. The medical and emotional support offered by hospice workers to the terminally ill and their families is invaluable. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospice is going away. Michigan Hospice of Holland is closing their doors. Their executive director explains:

The biggest issue under the Affordable Care Act is…that we’re going to see cuts in reimbursement- it’s going to be at least 12 percent. We projected out what those cuts are going to do to the organization long term and we realized that in a short period of time, we’re going to be pulling money from our savings in order to keep the house open…”

Is this what we were promised with Obamacare? Less care for those who need it most? Kristina Ribali, at IJReview, calls this situation “heartbreaking:”

Five years ago, I watched the greatest woman I’d ever known, my mother, pass away before my eyes.  We knew she was quite ill, and I worked with her to make sure her affairs were in order for her final days.  One of her last requests to me was not to allow her to die in a hospital.

When you’re tasked with helping someone complete their dying wish, the last thing in the world you want to do is let them down.  Without Hospice, I would not have been able to navigate the chaos unfolding before my eyes.  The doctors, hospital staff, technicians, etc. all needed answers and action, and I was in no condition to go it alone.  I cannot imagine what I’d have done without them, but now, families in Michigan unfortunately may have to.

In September of 2013, President Obama had this to say about the Affordable Care Act:

A few years from now, when people are using this to get coverage and everybody is feeling pretty good about all the choices and competition that they’ve got, there are going to be a whole bunch of folks who say, yes, I always thought this provision was excellent.  I voted for that thing.  You watch… If you’ve got a serious idea for making the Affordable Care Act better, or making our broader health care system better, I’m happy to work with you — because that’s what the majority of the American people want.  They don’t want posturing; they want governing.  They don’t want politics; they want us to work together to make the lives of ordinary Americans a little bit better, a little bit more secure.

So, is the closing of hospice care going to make the lives of Americans a little bit better? I don’t think so.

Read “What’s Causing Hospice Facilities In Michigan to Close?” at IJReview.



Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.


  • Bill Hickman

    1) It’s not closing its doors:

    “It has been incorrectly reported by some media outlets that Hospice of Holland is closing. The closure relates to the Hospice House and only the Hospice House. We regret any confusion the incorrect reports may have caused.”

    2) Unfortunately, some for-profit hospice care centers are using Medicare as a cash cow by actively recruiting patients who aren’t actually that sick. I believe this is what Acton calls “crony capitalism”. The reimbursement rate change will help fix that.

    3) This post’s headline is accurate, but not in the way you intend – studies show that making health insurance available to people saves lives. So yes, Obamacare has made it harder to die.

  • spitfire1938

    At some point the fact America is gone and the land is now RULED by a communist atheist oligarchy fronted by an illegal alien Islamist has to make an impression! But…apparently not! Virtually no one appears to understand the Constitution, Rule of Law, Culture, Religion, etc. are DEAD! You’re no longer citizens…now…your “Subjects” to the “whim” of the “Anointed One” Barak HUSANE Obama! Why do you suppose the Southern Border is WIDE OPEN and unprotected and Illegal alien “Children” get better medical care than our aged or our veterans! There is NO recovery from this…America has been vanquished from within by our foreign communist satanist enemies. But, remember…when your mother and father embraced “The Pill” in the 60’s…the ‘die’ was set…and resistance, at that point, became futile! YOUR reaping the rewards of that folly…

    • Bill Hickman

      Interesting. I never looked at it that way.