Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Grease Fire Spreads [UPDATED]

First HHS "suspended" enrollment into PCIP because of insufficient funding. Now comes word that HHS will be cutting payments to providers who treat those in PCIP. From the New York Times:

Under a new policy issued by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, “health care facilities and providers will get paid less” for providing the same services to patients in the federal program, known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
The article further stated:
Federal health officials said the alternatives were worse. If the program runs out of money, they said, some sick people will lose access to health care, and others will be unable to pay for the treatments they receive, forcing doctors and hospitals to write off large amounts of “uncompensated care.”  
In a regulation to be published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the administration says that doctors and hospitals must accept the amounts set by the government as “payment in full” for services in the high-risk pool administered by the federal government. 
On a related note, Ms. Shecantbeserious was busy touting the law in Europe. She "characterized the Affordable Care Act as part of a global movement toward better health through government-led reform."

Based on her words, one would guess that Government will need to seek additional funds (taxes?) while also cutting payments for health services (rationing?) Yep. This is our future under Obamacare.

UPDATE [HGS]: And some breaking news this afternoon on the PCIP front:

"Eighteen states have decided to turn their state Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) programs over to [HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious]."

As Patrick notes above, the reduced payment scheme is going to really hurt prospective providers, and hence any patients that might want to be treated. But let it never be said that Madame Secretary's minions lack a sense of humor:

"These actions will help ensure the program's smooth transition to 2014"

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