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Editorial: New Medicare rule unfair to elderly

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 5:36 PM

The new Medicare dictate slamming hospitals with hefty fines for readmitting the elderly beyond a new government limit is both unfair to senior citizens and is likely to drive up healthcare costs for everyone.

As of Monday, Oct. 1, these unfeeling government bureaucrats started fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications.

This is outrageous. What gives these heartless government pencil pushers the right to judge an individual’s medical need for readmission to a hospital due to complications? Needless to say, the answer to that question is Obamacare, one of the most dubious laws ever passed by Congress and signed by a president.

It is estimated this new Medicare dictate will have an impact on about two-thirds of hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities. These hospitals are expected to be slapped with an average of $125,000 in fines per facility.

This dictate is also likely to drive up costs for everyone because, no doubt, those fines are likely to be passed on to non-Medicare patients since the fines will obviously drive up the hospital’s cost of doing business.

And who is going to pay when the hospital’s start getting sued when elderly patients die prematurely because they weren’t readmitted because of the government’s arbitrary limit on admissions? It won’t be the government. The self-righteous bureaucrats will probably just pile more fines on the hospitals.

But worse than the cost issues is the fact that this new government dictate is another step in making our seniors second-class-citizens when it comes to healthcare.

People who have private insurance or can self-pay won’t have any such restraint on their doctors and hospitals. They won’t have bureaucrats looking over their doctors’ shoulders when they need to go back into the hospital.

This horrible new Medicare dictate will give hospital every incentive to treat only those with private insurance and none to treat Medicare patients. It is one more unnecessary government barrier to delivering quality healthcare to the elderly.

Whether a patient needs to be readmitted to a hospital should be solely up to the patient, his or her doctor, and the hospital. We need to get government bureaucrats out of the process entirely.

•••

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

Posted By: J T Milford On: 10/3/2012

Title: Reducing costs of medicare so it will not soon go broke.

This may not be the best way to cut costs but something must be done soon.When you cut costs there will always be problems. Maybe an increasing co-insurance payment should be also incorporated. Seniors are not second class citizens for health care. In fact the 40 million uninsured would love to have medicare as well as the individuals who cannot leave their state because of losing their coverage.

Posted By: DENNIS BEAVERS On: 10/3/2012

Title: MEDICARE

HOW UNIFORMED SOME PEOPLE ARE. THE LAW IS TO HELP PEOPLE RECEIVE BETTER HEALTH CARE. IT ALSO IS INTENDED TO STOP THE PEOPLE THAT ABUSE THE MEDICARE PROGRAM BY GOING TO A HOSPITAL FOR PROBLEMS THAT THEIR DOCTORS OFFICE CAN REMEDY. BECAUSE THERE IS A HOSPITAL BENEFIT WITH MEDICARE DOES NOT MEAN YOU USE IT LIKE GOING TO A MOVIE OR FOOTBALL GAME. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

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