by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Almost a decade after President Obama’s Affordable Care Act radically changed the healthcare landscape, costs are on the rise. Many Americans now pay more for their healthcare through increased out-of-pocket “cost sharing,” higher insurance premiums, and coverage for unnecessary procedures and services.
Now we can add rehospitalization to that list — a problem that’s not only a problem for patients, but also a serious driver of healthcare costs.
Rehospitalization is when a patient is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being treated, usually because the original visit was unsuccessful. Rehospitalization is not only unpleasant and frightening for a patient, but also extremely costly. …
… Now, more than six years after the program went into effect, more than 2,500 hospitals are still being reviewed for higher than expected readmission rates. In other words, roughly 80 percent of the hospitals that CMS evaluated in 2017 will face financial penalties this year.
The problem with rehospitalization, and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, is that Washington has stretched an already growing rift between patient and provider. No longer is the hospital responsive to the patient; rather they are at the mercy of insurance companies, government health plans, and regulators.