GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - President-Elect Donald Trump's promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act has Garden Park Medical Center CEO Brenda Waltz on edge.
Waltz said if the ACA is repealed, Congress must restore deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. If that doesn't happen, Waltz believes it could have a devastating effect on health care for the poor, elderly, disabled, and people living in rural areas. She called it an "access to care crisis."
With the ACA came steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid payments made to hospitals and other medical facilities.
If the law is repealed and these cuts are not restored, Waltz said it could cost U.S. hospitals more the $400 billion.
She said some medical centers would not be able to provide care without payments from the government, and many would be forced to close their doors. Others could be forced to stop providing specialty care, such as behavioral health and neonatal intensive care.
Waltz said hospitals and clinics catering mostly to poor and disabled people and medical centers serving rural areas would suffer the most from the lack of funding.
The funding cuts would also put jobs at stake, according to Waltz.
"For ongoing treatment, it means patients will need to travel farther for care. In emergency situations, it can mean the difference between life and death for patients who don't have the time to travel long distance for acute injuries of illnesses," said Waltz in a letter to the media. "In many cases, these cuts could mean that good jobs, people's livelihoods, will be at stake. This is unacceptable as it is unnecessary."
You can read Waltz's full letter here: