This started on October 1st but I just heard about it yesterday. And what is "it"? As of October 1st Medicare will fine hospitals for readmitting too many patients within 30 days. Yes, you read that right. If you've been discharged from the hospital but suffer a relapse or complications, your hospital will be penalized if it readmits you within a month. Up to 2200 facilities could be hit with fines as high as $125,000. This is one of Obamacare's cost-cutting measures. Some consumer advocates support this "reform" but critics say it could compromise health care for the elderly, the poor, and the chronically ill because they are the people most likely to be readmitted.
This isn't how Obamacare was sold to us. During the contentious fight to pass the legislation, Americans were told that it would insure the uninsured, improve health care, reduce costs, and even create jobs. Now we see that Obamacare extends government control over how hospitals handle their patients. And this control has the potential to harm the most vulnerable among us, the very people liberals claim to care about the most.
This provision of the Affordable Care Act has only been in effect for a few weeks. It remains to be seen how it will play out. For now, Medicare is fining hospitals for readmissions on just three medical conditions: heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia, but that could change in the future. The whole thing is frightening. What if you develop complications after treatment and need to go back to the hospital? Would you have to keep a record of how many days it had been since your discharge? What if only 30 days had passed? Would you have to wait until day 31 to be readmitted? That could be one day too late. Welcome to government health care, America.