That sounds good, in theory, especially to politicians and government bureaucrats who don't understand how markets actually work.
A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that in the real world, Obamacare’s attempts to hold hospitals accountable for poor quality medical treatment is penalizing those hospitals which serve sicker, poorer populations.
- Medicare readmissions rates are high: ~20% of elderly patients return to the hospital within 30 days of leaving.
- Those readmissions have cost Medicare $26B annually, with $17B spent on return trips that might not have been necessary had proper care been administered in the first place.
- ~50% of the difference in readmission rates among hospitals is due to variables linked to the patient population being treated, including education and income levels.
As a result, the penalties Medicare imposes are depriving hospitals that treat disadvantaged populations of money needed to treat those patients and their complex health issues.
The cost? For fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1, 2.6k hospitals will lose $420M in funds due to the penalty.
After fining hospitals whose staff serve disadvantaged populations hundreds of millions of dollars, bureaucrats at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have decided to examine the readmissions penalty program and the unintended consequences it appears to cause.
Q: What hospitals and in which markets should we expect a higher
percentage of readmissions?
A: Those located in poor and underprivileged areas, like the nation's
Bingo! It doesn't take a Mensa membership to figure that out. But, instead of asking that question, the wizards of smart in Washington, DC, forged ahead with a regulation to penalize hospitals serving the very population Obamacare was intended to assist.
It's time to repeal and replace Obamacare with healthcare insurance that's responsive to how markets actually work. A great first step: Treat state borders the way the federal government currently treats the southern U.S. border...let the folks migrate their health insurance plans legally across borders to get the best deals, just like the automobile and home insurance industries.
Let the discussion begin…
To access the JAMA Internal Medicine article, click on the following link: