Jun 01 2011
The new Medicare incentive from the Obama administration: Cut Costs!
The New York Times tries to cover up the core truth about the New Medicare program that is arising from Obamacare. But there is only so much disinformation you can lay on the hard fact that Medicare providers will MAKE MORE MONEY if they restrict services and costs. Much more than if they expend money attempting to address complex and costly health issues:
For the first time in its history, Medicare will soon track spending on millions of individual beneficiaries, reward hospitals that hold down costs and penalize those whose patients prove most expensive.
This plan has drawn fire from hospitals, which say they have little control over services provided after a patient’s discharge — and, in many cases, do not even know about them. More generally, they are apprehensive about Medicare’s plans to reward and penalize hospitals based on untested measures of efficiency that include spending per beneficiary.
The new Medicare initiative, known as value-based purchasing, will redistribute money among more than 3,100 hospitals.
Medicare will begin computing performance scores in July, for monetary rewards and penalties that start in October 2012.
When compared to Paul Ryan’s efforts to expand Medicare services and let consumers pick the right mix of cost and value, this should be a political slam dunk. It is clear where the incentive lies here. Avoid spending a lot saving a terminal patient, or spending money on alternative treatments that may work for some individuals and not others, to make more money to cover costs. The calculus is so simple, even a liberal can do it.
More money = more patients helped. Therefore, patients with complex or costly conditions must be sacrificed in order to retain the resources to help the most people. Spend too much on a person, you lose money through penalties. Shuffle some people off their mortal coils early and get a bonus.
It is called triage, and it is a process of picking those who will die and those who will get assistance in trying to survive. Until now the process has been limited to doctors and families of the ill. Until now everyone had the hope someone might go above and beyond to lend a helping hand.
But now the government is taking over the process, using cold hard cash as the incentive. It is sick, it is pathetic and it is the logical extension of a political movement which casually disregards the sanctity of any and all human lives.
We will now throw out the elderly for a few extra bucks, and do so because the government has given the green light to do so. Not only have we given our independence away to the government, we sold our honor and humanity in the process.