Labor Law Guy

A Sad Variation of No Room at the Inn Under Obamacare

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on August 17, 2009

Thanks to someone named John David Lewis, I’ve been awakened to (and frightened by) another glorious feature of HR 3200, the House of Representatives’ so-called health care reform measure.

Under HR 3200, limitations on hospital readmissions will be imposed. Since a huge portion of the expense of running Medicare comes from hospital readmissions within 30 days of the first admission, the measure seeks ways to limit readmissions.

The solution? You won’t be readmitted unless enough people with the same diagnosis as yours have been released prior to your arrival at the hospital. The number of releases will be determined by a new health czar, and his/her decision will be above the law. You cannot sue or challenge any decision by the czar in court.

Let me give you an example. Joe has a heart attack on Nov. 1, and then suffers another one on Nov. 28. When he arrives barely alive at the hospital, a faceless clerk will check the records to see if enough heart attack patients have died or been released to justify Joe’s readmission.

“Sorry, Mr. Jones, but we can’t admit you yet. Can you wait until two more heart attack patients die?”

Of course, Joe may be one of those two himself.

Now, is this a grand system or what? The government will set quotas on hospital readmissions, and no one in the country (barring Congress, which would never interfere absent an open revolution by the citizenry) can challenge the system legally or administratively.

All decisions are final. Including the one that leads to your death on a gurney in a hospital lobby.


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