Obamacare Starts Crippling Hospitals

Perhaps Obamacare should be titled PenaltyCare.

With Medicare now rolling over into Obamacare, many hospitals are taking a hit and losing payments. Particularly hard hit, strangely enough, was well-to-do Connecticut–as reported by Hearst Media Group.

Eighty-six percent of the state’s acute-care hospitals were penalized, that is, are losing lots of money under a new Medicare program put in place by Obamacare requirements.

One reason for the penalties was readmission. If a person goes back into the hospital within 30 days after an initial stay then that counts against the institution’s record. The new government requirement doesn’t even take into account the reason for the readmission—it’s considered automatically bad.

Here we have another aspect of Obamacare defying reality and common sense. Not surprisingly, hospitals are feeling beleaguered–according to one hospital official:

“In the big picture, we don’t really zoom in on these particular indicators (measured by Medicare), so much as we look for ways to improve the patient experience,” he said. “We made a lot of `system fixes’ before the (payment) changes went into effect because they were the right thing to do to improve quality and safety and our patients’ experiences.”

Whether government edicts from Obamacare will ultimately make any difference whatsoever in hospital care is at best questionable. All we do know is that the penalties will go up:

On readmissions, Medicare began reducing payments to more than 2,200 hospitals nationwide, including the 23 in Connecticut, in October. The maximum penalty is set to double to 2 percent next October and then reach 3 percent of reimbursements in October 2015.

This is not to say that hospitals don’t need improvement. The question is how much will Obamacare force all hospitals to make changes that don’t really improve health–and how much more bureaucracy and cost will result.