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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Pinnacle Health could be undergoing big change/NCAA tournament for 2 schools

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 16, 2017 5:06 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, March 16, 2017:

If there is one constant today in healthcare it is that change is occuring all the time.  The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is one of the most significant issues being debated in Washington today.  No matter what happens, that could mean big change for healthcare and health insurance.

Meanwhile, one of Central Pennsylvania's largest providers -- Pinnacle Health -- is in the news this week for a couple moves that could alter the region's and maybe even the state's healthcare landscape.

Pinnacle announced it is purchasing Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Lancaster Regional Medical Center and Memorial Hospital of York.  The deal must be approved by regulators.

Pinnacle also has signed a letter of intent to work towards an affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or UPMC.

WITF's Transforming Health reporter Ben Allen appears on Thursday's Smart Talk to explain what it all means.

Disclaimer: Smart Talk is supported in part by Pinnacle Health

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The NCAA men's basketball tournament begins Thursday and women's tourney is set to start Friday.  Three teams from two area universities will be competing in the "Big Dance."  Bucknell University's men's and women's squads take to the court this weekend. 

The Bison's men play highly-ranked West Virginia Thursday afternoon in Buffalo, New York while the women will try to topple powerhouse Maryland Friday.

Bucknell's Associate Athletic Director for Communications John Terry joins us on Smart Talk to discuss March Madness -- Bison style.

Also, Mt. St. Mary's University, which is located just 10 miles south of Gettysburg in Emmittsburg, Maryland, may have the toughest challenge of all.  The 16th seeded Mountaineers play defending men's national champion Villanova in Buffalo. 

The Mount's radio play-by-play announcer Adam Pohl gives us the inside scoop.

Obviously, Villanova also has a large rooting interest in Pennsylvania.

EMAILS

- The antitrust enforcers--FTC, Department of Justice, and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General--are not regulators (they are enforcers). This is an important point because it means they do not have the authority to approve or not approve any deals on antitrust grounds. Rather, they challenge or do not challenge a transaction in federal court where they must prove it is a violation of the antitrust laws. If they do not, the transaction goes forward.

The distinction is important because a transaction could be anticompetitive (or not in the best interest of consumers) yet not challenged for a variety of reasons.  Comparatively, a regulator could shut down a deal without challenging it in court simply by not "approving" of the deal.           - Aaron

- I want to correct an incorrect statement made at 9:25 this morning that in Pittsburgh "Highmark made UPMC Hospitals out of network."  Actually, the reverse is true. UPMC refused to negotiate a new contract with Highmark and UPMC made Highmark out of network. Highmark would like UPMC hospitals to be in network. UPMC, however, has refused to negotiate a new contract that would allow in-network access for Highmark subscribers.

I fear that if UPMC comes to central PA, they would do what they did in western PA and refuse to allow in-network access to Highmark subscribers.                                                 - John

- as someone who used to work for a hospital, one of your callers was spot on re: insurance companies. They used to strong arm us and if we (the hospital) didn't agree to any upcharges to be a part of their network,they'd threaten to pull out and that would affect many patients at the hospital and at the physician practices under the hospital's umbrella.

The caller is right - insurance companies are making out like bandits...and consumers' rights are being affected. Physicians should be calling the shots for their patients,not the insurance companies.    - anon

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