Section 3001 sets up a bonus system to reward hospitals for “value.” Bravo for rewarding hospitals that prevent infections. But the lion’s share of bonus points go to hospitals that spend the least per senior.
That cost-cutting will shorten lives. Evidence from 208 California hospitals shows that Medicare patients treated in the lowest-spending hospitals had a worse chance of surviving their illness and going home than patients with the same diagnosis treated at higher-spending hospitals.
The research, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and RAND, found that heart-attack patients were 19 percent more likely to die at low-spending hospitals. Who would want those odds?
Over a four-year period, 13,613 seniors who died from pneumonia, stroke, heart attacks, and other common conditions at California’s low-spending hospitals might have recovered and gone home had they been treated elsewhere. And that’s just in one state.
Ignoring this evidence, ObamaCare incentivizes hospitals in all 50 states to imitate lowest-spending hospitals that are deadly for seniors. That’s some definition of value.
This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.
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