nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Reform Costs: More Taxpayer Money to Less-Costly Hospitals?

 
Am I missing the logic here:  we're going to give extra money to hospitals that are less costly?

So a hospital creates efficiencies in cost, lowering the amount of taxpayer payments through Medicaid and Medicare.  We then celebrate "bending the cost curve" downward, by authorizing them additional taxpayer funds in the health care reform bill.

Perversely, this is exactly what happened.  In order to gain the votes necessary to pass the bill that was signed into law this week, Speaker Pelosi had to promise $800 million in additional funding to less-costly hospitals in Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, and other states.  Kaiser Health News (Mar 23) calls it a "political dilemma" that legislation designed to lower costs could only be passed with massive cost-increasing political deals.  That's putting it too diplomatically...it stinks, and it's stupid.

As one health economist, Stephen Zuckerman (quoted in the Kaiser article), questioned, wouldn't it be a better cost-cutting strategy that "high cost hospitals should be penalized with lower payments."

Posion Pills in the health care reform law

I said previously that we will find many poison pills in this legislation.  Mainstream media and others have reported on the exemption for Congressional staffers, failure to include children in coverage, takeover of college loans (how is that health care related?), the states opt-out option on mandates, businesses dropping health care coverage.  The list is growing every day.

 

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