When controlling cost becomes primary, the care given becomes secondary
The concept in the title isn’t a difficult one to grasp, yet it seems to be one that eludes any number of people who think government can cut medical care costs and improve care simultaneously.
A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
So what does that mean? Well, it’s a vicious circle that ends up costing more, because of one tiny problem:
In Arizona, hospitals won’t discharge or refuse to admit patients who medically need to be there, said Peter Wertheim, spokesman for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. "Hospitals will get stuck with the bill," he said.
That will most likely be the case for all hospitals.
And the result?
Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.
And what will happen?
Cost will continue to spiral upward for everyone.
And continue to do so.
For fiscal 2012, the association estimated state Medicaid spending will rise 19%, largely because of the end of the federal stimulus dollars.
The program served 69 million people last year.
That number will go up as millions are added under ObamaCare.
Your “cost cutting” government at work.