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The last 8 years of the Affordable Care Act has almost destroyed our access to health services. Many people that had employer plans lost those services and had to seek insurance that carried high premiums and high deductibles. People that used hospital emergency services in the past, now were given subsidies to purchase health services with expandable Medicaid. Insurance companies were guaranteed bailouts for any lost profits. The wealthy citizens are able to maintain their standard of health care. Hospitals and doctors are picking and choosing what patients, insurances, and services to accept or offer.

Now, we read in the local paper the loss of health care at our local hospital (SBLHC) and its doctors if you have Health Alliance insurance owned by Carle Hospital. This means many people will have to find new insurance providers that SBLHC accepts or lose your doctor and local service unless you go over to Carle Care. Carle came into Coles County with hopes of buying out Sarah Bush Hospital but many of our local officials and citizens did not let that happen. We need to keep our hospital and doctors for our citizens. Hospitals are big business and run on profit, but citizens health care must be preserved in rural areas. Travel of thirty to fifty minutes to other hospitals means life and death. Insurance plans become more complex and expensive every year we must consider Medicare or Medicaid coverage. People are finding it harder each year to understand all the plans and options they cover as the costs continue to rise. The loss of patients on Health Alliance will weaken our hospital and the staff it can support.

Dave Kersey, Mattoon

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