Obamacare: trimming costs by trimming people
And by “trimming,” I mean:
Dr. (Betsy) McCaughey explained that the “skimpy care” that Obama’s health law would impose on Medicare hospital patients “is likely to cause an estimated 40,000 unnecessary deaths each year.”
That’s R.S. McCain, who interviewed McCaughey (Ph.D., former Lt. Gov. of New York) in Tampa. Here’s his video, gleefully swiped:
The administration claims that cutting payments to hospitals and doctors and hospice care won’t actually hurt patients, it won’t affect their benefits, but it’s not true. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that proves that when you cut hospitals it means fewer nurses on the floor and higher death rates from heart attacks, from hip fractures, from pneumonia, from six very common conditions affecting the elderly.
I’m not going to spend any time on her numbers – maybe they’re sound, maybe not – but, whether the numbers are sound or not, the premise is logical. The Galen Institute’s Grace Marie-Turner wrote over the weekend:
The Affordable Care Act assumes deep reductions in payments to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and Medicare Advantage program, totaling $716 billion over ten years. By paying providers less, the trust fund may last a bit longer, but it means seniors will have a harder and harder time finding a doctor to see them as they drop out of the program or stop taking new Medicare patients. The law may not explicitly cut benefits, but it certainly will impact access to care. What good is a Medicare card if you can’t find a doctor? That is precisely the problem that patients on Medicaid — the program for lower-income Americans — face today, forcing them to go to hospital emergency rooms for even routine care.
Would movie theaters survive if people stopped paying to see movies? No. So why would we expect different when we stop paying for health care? Pay less, get less.
So, sure, you’ll be entitled to the benefits, but we’re not going to pay anybody to provide those benefits. So good luck to you, and remember: it’s universal!
Another example: Wisconsin’s BadgerCare system, particularly in the dental care area:
The state pays dentists between $13 and $16 for a periodic oral exam, according to the story. Is that even enough to pay a dental assistant for an hour?
Is it enough to cover the cost of doing the paperwork?
So the state “offers” dental care – “guarantees” it for kids and their families (depending on income), and then they underpay the providers to such an extent that those same families can’t find a dentist who will take them.
That was me, writing at FoxPolitics.net a few years ago. Guess what? We’ve got dental care shortages, especially in poor rural areas. But hey, everybody’s got coverage. No, they can’t actually get care. But they’re covered.