Costs have jumped … no they haven’t

In the midst of a health crisis, is there any concern for costs? Understandably, no.

Today it’s a worldwide crisis, but the concept always applies to every individual health crisis as well. That’s why dealing with health care costs is so difficult.

A year ago health care costs consumed the news as the candidates battled over what to do about health care in America. There were claims of overcharging and all that goes with the issue.

Now, the concern is a lack of health care spending and our goal is to subsidize parts of the system.

Facts are facts and one of them is that our health care infrastructure needs revenue to be sustained. In other words if you build it or buy it, you must use it.

There were reports that hospitals were being paid more if they listed a diagnosis of COVID and way more if they placed a patient on a ventilator. The implication being there was an incentive to over treat and over count.

That has been discredited, but there is an element of truth in the following fact checking.

Medicare will pay hospitals a 20% “add-on” to the regular DRG payment for COVID-19 patients. That’s a result of the CARES Act, the largest of the three federal stimulus laws enacted in response to the coronavirus, which was signed into law March 27.

“This is no scandal,” Antos said. “The 20% was added by Congress because hospitals have lost revenue from routine care and elective surgeries that they can’t provide during this crisis, and because the cost of providing even routine services to COVID patients has jumped.”

Julie Aultman, a member of the editorial board of the American Medical Association’s AMA Journal of Ethics, told PolitiFact it is “very unlikely that physicians or hospitals will falsify data or be motivated by money to do so.”

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