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What Happens If The Affordable Health Care Act Is Overturned?

Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health System, talks to KPBS about the Affordable Care Act.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Scripps Health System is one of the largest in San Diego County, with five hospitals, 26 clinics and 13,000 employees, so it has a lot at stake in the Supreme Court's ruling on health care reform.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps' president and CEO, spoke to KPBS about the current health care system. He said he is in favor of an individual mandate that each person have health insurance because he believes the system needs everyone to have health insurance.

“I would agree that everyone in this country should have some insurance of one kind or another,” he said.

An individual mandate is an “attempt to try to get everyone insurance,” but, he added, “of course whether people use the insurance in the right way, for example, to try to keep themselves well instead of waiting until they get sick and then using the health care system.”

Van Gorder said the country's health care system is broken for those who are uninsured or underinsured, and said the system shifts the costs of people who don’t have insurance to people who do.

“About $1,400 out of everyone’s premium annually is to pay for those who are uninsured or underinsured,” he said.

Another problem is that "hospitals are a sick business," he said.

“If you aren’t sick, we’re out of business," he said. "We don’t get paid to keep you well.”

Van Gorder said Scripps is working to change that model.

In response to a U-T San Diego series on emergency room "frequent fliers," Van Gorder agreed, “we do have a national health care system, it’s called the emergency room.”

San Diego County has no county hospital system, so “if someone comes to our hospital, we have the legal responsibility, and frankly the moral responsibility, to take care of them, regardless of their ability to pay," he said. "That is the health care delivery system in this country."


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