Thursday, May 12, 2016

Obama’s Medicare Cuts Are Killing Seniors

President Obama’s Medicare cuts are killing seniors. His health law changed Medicare, adding bonuses for hospitals that spend the least per senior. The result? Hundreds of hospitals are skimping on care to win bonuses. Seniors at these hospitals aren’t getting the right antibiotic or other treatments they need. They’re dying from pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure at higher rates than patients in other hospitals that provide more care.
So much for Obama’s promise that cutting Medicare wouldn’t harm seniors.
News of the deaths at low-spending hospitals, reported in Health Affairs, comes just as GOP front-runner Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Medicare cuts are on the long list of policy disagreements between the two Republicans. Trump pledges not to cut Medicare. Ryan and GOP members of Congress are pushing to repeal ObamaCare but want to keep Obama’s Medicare cuts. Trump is right on this one.
The report found that 231 hospitals rewarded with Medicare bonuses for low spending per senior provide inferior care. Seniors having heart attacks wait too long for angioplasties, for example. They’re dying when they would survive at a higher-spending hospital.
Sec. 3001 of the Affordable Care Act claims to tie these bonuses to “quality,” but hospitals can win the most points — and biggest Medicare bonuses — by spending the least. Never mind who perishes.
The Obama administration was warned that rewarding low-spending hospitals could be dangerous to seniors’ health. Reports in the journal Circulation and in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed more deaths at low-spending hospitals. In fact, 17,822 seniors who died over four years in the lowest-spending hospitals in California would have survived with more care.
Read the rest of this IBD editorial HERE.

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