“A year and a half after the Affordable Care Act brought widespread reforms to the U.S. healthcare system, Chicago’s Cook County Health & Hospitals System has made its first profit in 180 years.
“Seven hundred miles south, the fortunes of Atlanta’s primary public hospital, Grady Health System, haven’t improved, and it remains as dependent as ever on philanthropy and county funding to stay afloat.
“The disparity between the two ‘safety net’ hospitals, both of which serve a disproportionate share of their communities’ poorest patients, illustrates a growing divide nationwide.
“In states like Illinois that have opted to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, some large, public hospitals are finding themselves on solid financial footing for the first time in decades, and formerly uninsured patients are now getting regular care.
“But in states that did not expand the government medical program for the poor, …including Georgia, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on public hospitals has been negligible.”