Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After Wednesday's House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, businesses in the Midlands are thinking about how health care reform will affect them.
Agape Senior is known throughout the state for their assisted living, rehab and hospice facilities. They say the health care reform will probably cost them more initially, but they're working to make sure their residents and employees stay healthier, hopefully lowering their costs in the long run.
"Agape's philosophy really is, we're about better health care for seniors," says Agape CEO Scott Middleton, "We have opportunities where we have social workers, accountants, nursing home administrators, pharmacists, doctors all in one room together on a regular basis."
Under the act, there will be an increase in his cost of health care for his 1800 employees, who take care of many folks on Medicare. So his reaction to the Affordable Care Act is somewhat mixed. "It's going to be expensive in the beginning. I think in the long run, it's going to be the salvation to our Medicare problems," he says, "We still have people who are not taking their medications, because they can't afford it. So, the Affordable Care Act is going to help bridge that by eliminating that doughnut hole."
For patients, he's hoping increased costs can be fought with the efficiency that the ACA is paying for. "All of our doctors use IPads or computers and they're keeping track of information a lot quicker. They can email a prescription straight to the pharmacy, the pharmacy software talks to our nursing home software," Middleton says.
Right now, not all of his employees elect to get health insurance. But soon, he'll be paying for 70 percent of it for each one. He's got a plan for that too - including gyms, health care savings accounts and a healthy restaurant. "We had a guy that wanted to go on a juice fast, and so I told him, I'll pay for it. It cost $1400 for him to go on a 30 day juice fast and he lost 57 pounds," Middleton explains, "Do you know what it would've cost for me to pay for me to have his open heart surgery in five years because he stayed overweight and he's inactive? And now this guy's one of the healthiest people in our companies."
Middleton says their goal is to have the healthiest employees in the state of South Carolina.