ABOUT THAT DOCTORS VS. OBAMACARE VIDEO

This has received a lot of play, but it gets a lot its “facts” wrong. For example, it misses the most important difference between hospitals and free-standing surgery centers. The former are more expensive because hospitals are required by federal law to take all comers.

It also compares hospital list price to actual payment received by the surgery center (a classic apples and oranges comparison). Moreover, The video misstates the percentage of charges received by hospitals for their services. In fact, for Medicare and Medicaid, the remuneration is less than cost——that’s COST, not charges.

Also, in cases where physicians own these centers, it is (very) frequently the case that they refer medicare, Medicaid and other underinsured patients to the local community hospitals and keep the patients with high reimbursement insurance for their own centers. It is one of the reasons half the community hospitals in the U.S. are losing money.

I am not, by the way, advocating more government control over free-standing centers. I am, instead, arguing for less government control over community hospitals. And, to shoot down a tired point in advance, the tax exemption received by not-for-profit hospitals doesn’t come close to covering the cost of treating people for nothing or at below-cost reimbursement.

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