ObamaCare At Work

Buried on page 7B of Monday’s Joplin Globe was more good news from ObamaCare:

As of Monday, Medicare will start fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of a broader push under President Barack Obama’s health care law to improve quality while also trying to save taxpayers money.

And about the inevitable squawking:

“It’s modest, but it’s a start,” said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Should we be surprised that industry is objecting? You would expect them to object to anything that changes the status quo.” […]

If General Motors and Toyota issue warranties for their vehicles, hospitals should have some similar obligation when a patient gets a new knee or a stent to relieve a blocked artery, Santa contends. “People go to the hospital to get their problem solved, not to have to come back,” he said. […]

Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum said he thinks hospitals have gotten the message.

“Clearly it’s captured their attention,” said Blum. “It’s galvanized the hospital industry on ways to reduce unnecessary readmissions. It’s forced more parts of the health care system to work together to ensure that patients have much smoother transitions.” […]

Under Obama’s health care overhaul, Medicare is pursuing efforts to try to improve quality and lower costs. They include rewarding hospitals for quality results, and encouraging hospitals, nursing homes and medical practice groups to join in “accountable care organizations.” Dozens of pilot programs are under way. The jury is still out on the results.

Well, maybe the jury’s still out. But at least, thanks to Democrats, there is a jury.

4 Comments

  1. writer89

     /  October 1, 2012

    Here’s an interesting take on this issue. Long article, but worth reading. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/13/120813fa_fact_gawande

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  2. Yellow Dog

     /  October 2, 2012

    This is why doctors and hospitals are arguing against AHCA. The new law makes them accountable and if there is anything these two entities DON’T want it is to be held accountable. Gov. Matt Blunt gave them their Tort Reform and promised us immediate reductions in the costs of office calls, xrays, etc. and lied. Nothing changed except the doctors put a whole lot more money in their pockets. So much for the Republican’s “reform” part of their health care plan.

    In July United Healthcare refunded me $371.76. It seems with the new law if my insurance company does not use my premiums for 80% of my actual healthcare….they must refund me or if I was in a group policy at my work….my employer…a refund.

    Many small and large businesses got checks back this year. A co worker of mine did too, hers was $101.00. But business kept it quiet…they didn’t tell the employees about any refund from “Obamacare”, they pocketed the money and kept the whole thing on the down low.

    Obama should be talking about this and quoting some numbers…..it would be interesting to know how much say …. Ford…or GE…or Exxon Mobile …..got BACK from insurance companies.

    Just sayin’.

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    • Treeske

       /  October 2, 2012

      Y. dog, You’re right but I disagree with one point. Some businesses pay the full insurance amount, would it not be fair if they keep the return?

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  3. I didn’t find Writer89’s linked New Yorker article too long at all. It was very interesting and I recommend it to all.

    Duane’s post is right on target about the good that the ACA is doing and the more good that it’s poised to do. It is sad that all too many people, principally conservatives, are condemning it and are using its failure to radically lower costs to do so. It probably will slow the rise of costs but its merits are what this post and those in the New Yorker article are about. And if you google “IOM report and medical errors” you can find things like this:

    Washington, D.C. – Five years after a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report focused attention on medical errors in hospitals, Americans say that they do not believe that the nation’s quality of care has improved. Four in 10 (40%) people say the quality of health care has gotten worse in the past five years, while one in six (17%) say the quality of care has gotten better and nearly four in 10 (38%) say it has stayed the same, according to a new survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Harvard School of Public Health.</blockquote?

    If the nations airlines were run like its hospital system, commercial flight would drop to a trickle. IMO.

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