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  • Tomorrow's Health Care Headlines Today

    A Boston Globe headline today reads Boston Medical sues state for funds. Replace “Boston Medical” with “Local Hospital X” and “state” with “federal government,” and you’ll have tomorrow’s headline. And it will dominate newspapers across the country, should Obamacare become law. First, though, some history.

    When Massachusetts passed their health reform law in 2006, one of the major reform elements was an agreement between state and federal officials that would redirect federal Medicaid funds which were previously flowing to “safety net” institutions, like Boston Medical Center, for uncompensated care. They would instead use them to help the poor buy coverage. The thinking was that as more of the poor gained access to health insurance, more hospital services would be paid through health plans, and the need for uncompensated care dollars would decrease. Not a bad idea, in principle. Sound familiar? It should. Just last week, President Obama announced a deal with the nation’s hospitals to “save” $150-155 billion over the next ten years to offset the cost of a health reform plan with a price tag in excess of a trillion dollars.

    How did everything turn out in Massachusetts? Well, despite a healthy decline in the number of uninsured, the state has not moved uncompensated care dollars away from hospitals as quickly as it had agreed. This is partially because it has continued to deliver special payments to certain politically-favored institutions (Boston Medical included). Now, three years into the reform, the state is actually beginning to follow its plan for financing the reform and (surprise!) hospitals are crying foul.

    So, should Obamacare become law before Washington can show us the money from the savings it’s banking on, expect to see the same politics in play when it comes time to pony up and pay the bill.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Tomorrow's Health Care Headlines Today

    1. Paul Dibble, Ada, MI says:

      Your article illustrates why federalism is better than an over-powerful federal government. If a state experiments with solutions to social problems and fails, only the people of one state suffer, and they can move. If the federal government does it, the whole country pays the price.

    2. Pingback: Health Rationing And You « Nice Deb

    3. Roger S., MA. says:

      Perfect example of why "mixed economies" must fail: you get the "worst of all possible worlds".

      Question: Injecting an extra middle-man who is required to turn a profit into an already overburned public entitlement system would make it work better? How? Because people now buy insurance first and then go to the provider? And maybe do both in a pinch? Absolutely nuts!

      Happy lawsuits, everybody! Sotomayor will be waiting.

      (You just can't cook all of the books all of the time!)

      Paul, you have it just right: that's why our Constitution was structured the way it was, until liberal progressives got a hold of it to "shred".

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