Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ObamaCare fines for hospitals begin 10-1-2012

One of the key provisions of the ObamaCare law that could result in drastic cuts to hospitals for treating the elderly and the poor will kick in today. In an attempt to rein in the costs of medical care which many critics say will hurt the elderly and the poor the most, the ObamaCare law will now mandate as of Oct. 1, 2012 that patients who need to return to the hospital for follow-up admissions within 30 days of discharge may not get the level of care they have come to expect.

The new provision will place fines on hospitals for treating returning patients who are readmitted within 30 days after discharge. Critics say that this will lead to serious declines in both the level and quality of care rendered to patients.
Critics further state that those hospitals that cater to the elderly and the poor, such as large teaching hospitals that are affiliated with universities, will be negatively impacted the most.
When the Democrat-controlled Congress of 2009 voted in secret after midnight to approve ObamaCare, it did so with the knowledge that citizens would be introduced to its provisions incrementally over a period of several years. This gradual implementation has had the effect of lessening the impact of the new law and gradually acclimating citizens to a new way of delivering healthcare in America, particularly with regard to strikingly large tax hikes, rationing of care, and reductions in care to seniors.
With popular opposition to the healthcare law still running consistently high in national polls, observers are anxious to see how the new provision will play out among the citizens who are most effected by the reductions in care, particularly the chronically severely ill who often need readmission to the hospital after initial treatment, and the nation's growing senior adult population.
Some observers believe that the new provision will place an enormous amount of added pressure on these populations, given that patients cannot be certain that their treatment will be up to par in the event of the need for readmission to the hospital after discharge. And hospitals that are already feeling the squeeze financially due to cutbacks in reimbursements from the government may be forced to limit the level of care given during readmission, resulting in patients being discharged long before they are ready.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have stated that they intend to repeal the ObamaCare law if elected, replacing it with common sense solutions that address specific areas of the healthcare delivery system without tax increases and reductions in the level and quality of care.
The Republican plan includes provisions such as tort reform that limits the amount juries can award litigants in healthcare lawsuits, allowing health insurance companies to market and sell their coverage across state lines, which will increase healthy competition and reduce the cost of premiums, allowing small business owners and individuals to purchase low-cost group insurance coverage, and implementing tax credits to low income persons who buy health insurance plans.
Conservatives have long maintained that these provisions will result in health insurance coverage for as many if not more of the uninsured than the ObamaCare plan, given that many citizens will choose to pay the IRS fine for not having insurance rather than pay costly premiums that are far more expensive than the fines.


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