Now that we have Obamacare, why would the scam of uncompensated care need to continue?  After all, the big hospitals all supported the Unaffordable Care Act so that they could be paid for everything and everyone that comes through their doors.  Little to no care will be uncompensated once this disastrous bill goes into full effect.  You’re thinking, “at least I won’t have to read any more of Smith’s blogs about the uncompensated care scam.”  Wrong.  

In the Sunday, August 12, 2012 Daily Oklahoman, the lead editorial on the opinion page, “Cost-shifting will only continue under health law,” decries the cost shifting of federal programs to the states.  Sounds pretty good so far, no?  Federal officials coming down with rules and regs that cause states to dig deep sounds like a reasonable gripe to me.  Later in the editorial, we read the following: 

“The federal-state cost-shifting games in Obamacare may also threaten “safety net hospitals” thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling.  Those facilities, which serve many uninsured people, currently get federal “disproportionate share” payments (DSH) to cover the extra costs involved. However, assuming those people would be added to Medicaid, the Obamacare law slashed DSH funding.” Later, “This could place many “safety net hospitals” on precarious financial ground.”

Keep in mind that these big hospitals supported  the Unaffordable Care Act.  They got what they wanted.  No one will enter their doors for whom they will not be paid.  But they still want their uncompensated care payments!   Poor things.  They just won’t know what to do without their old shakedown pal, uncompensated care.

The real cost-shifting going on that few want discussed has been the unnecessary and malicious overcharging of the sick by these same hospitals.  When a  ”not show a profit” hospital announces a two year 4.2 billion dollar building campaign, I’m thinking they’ve overdone the cost-shifting thing a bit.  How many poor and sick people did these “safety net hospitals” bankrupt on their way to amassing this kind of loot?  Their “safety net” probably feels more like a shark tank to those they have ruined.  The “high price of healthcare” that ushered in the Unaffordable Care Act was based on the amounts billed by these mercenaries, amounts that are completely unjustified if you take a look at our prices in comparison.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the big hospitals’ appetite for even more money has not been slaked with the Obamacare victory.  They still want their money if they aren’t compensated even when they are compensated I guess?!  It must take an army of people in suits to work this hard to not make a profit.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.