In Universal Health Insurance
Spat, Mass. Hospital Sues State
Tax policy analyst from The Heritage Foundation says Massachusetts can provide an example of what Obama’s healthcare reform can bring to America.
Boston Medical Center has sued the state of Massachusetts over the state’s universal healthcare system. According to The New York Times, the 626-bed hospital — which is the primary teaching facility for Boston University School of Medicine — faces a $38 million deficit and will lose close to $100 million more in the coming year. Hospital officials say the shortfall is due to the state’s universal healthcare system which forces them to cover the healthcare costs of poor people. Another factor is that the state has lowered its Medicaid reimbursements.
Curtis Dubay is with The Heritage Foundation. “I think that what’s going on in Massachusetts is a good example of what will happen at the national level,” he shares. “The cost savings that President Obama and Congress are promising simply won’t materialize.”
Dubay says much of the burden of covering the cost of Obama’s healthcare reform falls on small businesses and the rich in the form of massive tax hikes.
A policy that lowers costs does not require economically painful tax hikes — and second[ly], built into that tax hike are further tax hikes if the savings don’t materialize that they say will,” explains the analyst. “[T]hey already know that these savings aren’t coming, so they already preemptively baked tax hikes into the cake.”
According to Dubay, if Obama’s healthcare plan is passed, the U.S. could see more hospitals in the same situation as Boston Medical Center.
and–via the Wall Street Journal:
lawsuit filed yesterday by a Boston hospital could foreshadow what’s to come nationally as the federal government looks to expand health insurance coverage.
Boston Medical Center, which sees many low-income patients, alleges that the state is illegally cutting its Medicaid payments in order to finance the state program that aims to make health insurance universal, the Boston Globe reports.
The state now pays BMC $9,323 per Medicaid patient, down from the $12,476 per patient last year. The state came to that figure by calculating the average cost of caring for a Medicaid patient at hospitals in the state and paying 75% of the average to “encourage efficiency”, says the Globe.
Massachusetts, as we have written about extensively, has been closely watched by the rest of the country in its efforts to fund universal health-care coverage. This new lawsuit illustrates how tricky it is to implement cuts to one part of the medical system — in this case, hospitals — to help fund other parts.
The law requires that the state pay hospitals that treat a number of poor patients based on the facility’s individual needs, and BMC’s needs are high, the hospital contends. For instance, it employs 75 translators since 30% of its patients don’t speak English. The state says that BMC should cut its costs.