Wednesday, January 23, 2013

John Kerry on How to Kill Medicare

Medicare has always been a failure measured by what it was supposed to accomplish: protect Grandma from losing the shirt off her back, and cost. But it was a very popular failure. Conservatives have wondered for years how to rid the nation of this albatross. Thankfully John Kerry has struck the first blow for freedom:

"Meanwhile, John Kerry found another way to raid the health care system. The Senator from Massachusetts did what diligent Senators do; he added a provision to the Affordable Care Act to allow his state’s hospitals to increase their Medicare reimbursements by a factor of ten:
Here’s how Massachusetts gets extra money: Hospitals in urban areas have to be paid at least the same amount as rural hospitals. Massachusetts only has one rural hospital—a 19-bed facility on Nantucket island. So, the Nantucket Cottage Hospital sets the floor for every hospital in the state.
But because Nantucket is so wealthy, its cost of living is high—and thus so are its Medicare payments. That drives up the payments for every other hospital in the state. And under Kerry’s provision in the Affordable Care Act, hospital payments come from a nationwide pool.
If the provision remains in place, Massachusetts’s payments will rise over the next decade from $367 million to about $3.5 billion. The pool operates on a zero-sum basis, so all the money the Bay State gets will be funded by cutbacks from other states."

MA is a small State, it took some chutzpah to pull this off. Other states and hospitals are obviously not going to stand for this. Luckily for the taxpayers we are broke, so they can't just give every hospital a 10-fold pay raise. The more states fight over the small pot of blood money and more games like this the politicians play the sooner the public will see this for the failure it is and get rid of it.
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