Saturday, May 14, 2011
More evidence of the potential unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act. As often is the case the results of policies create the exact opposite of the intent behind them.
Over the last few months, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has exempted a long list of unions and employers from an Affordable Care Act provision that would have made it too costly for them to continue some of their health care insurance plans. But, in sharp contrast, HHS apparently doesn't intend to do anything at all about a new health reform mandate that could eventually force hundreds of badly needed U.S. hospitals to shut their doors.
Many of these hospitals are already struggling to make ends meet because Medicare only reimburses them for 90 percent of what it costs them to take care of Medicare patients. But, instead of helping them out, this rule change does the opposite. In a misguided effort to pressure them to become more efficient, it arbitrarily assumes that they can achieve the same productivity savings as the economy at large and decrees that these hypothetical cost savings must be deducted from any Medicare reimbursements they receive after September.