News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Get rid of Medicare and ACA; they're getting out of hand.

Opponents of Medicare and the Affordable Healthcare Act received threatening news in USA Today.  The headline story today announced a drastic drop in Medicare deaths and costs.  


  • Mortality rates among Medicare patients fell 16 percent from 1999 to 2013.
  • Among fee-for-service patients,  hospitalization rates fell 24 percent with more than 3 million fewer hospitalizations in 2013 than 1999.
  • When admitted, patients were 45 percent less likely to die during their stay.
  • Costs almong fee-for-service patients fell 15 percent.  
The results of a study appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association.  The lead author said they were "jaw-dropping."

As if that wasn't bad enough for healthcare opponents, USA Today carried another story on page 2 covering another article in JAMA.  It found that the rates of the uninsured in America dropped another 7.9 percent during the first quarter of this year and a significant increase in the number of people getting access to medical care.  

Meanwhile the horde of GOP presidential candidates and many sitting congress people vow to end Obamacare, announce its time to end Medicare, and keep voting to repeal Obamacare.

While significant strides are being made in improving healthcare in the U.S., the GOP expresses its intention to destroy the vehicles of that improvement.  The question they never answer is, why?  They bring up big government, but they never address the hard facts about  healthcare in the nation or acknowledge the improvements being made    And they never suggest a plan to imake healthcare accessible to more people.  A question raised before the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed at a forum in the Johnson Fine Arts Center at NSU was "Why do you want fellow citizens to be deprived of healthcare?"  No one that I know of has ever bothered to answer.  

Or will the GOP have the integrity to acknowledge the progress being made?  Or even care?  

3 comments:

Angela Marcos said...

GOP will never get rid of ACA, the insurance companies would not allow it. All the resources invested in the necessary changes for ACA provisions cannot go to waste. But the GOP knows what its voters want to hear and use this as a smoke screen to cover their lack of a real policy other than the obvious: they don't want the government to get into their business, but their business is to get into the government.

Randall Bolten said...

Don't get me wrong -- this is of course good news, but read the story. It doesn't appear to attribute any of the improvement to Medicare itself. Americans are living longer, we're healthier (other than a few too many cheeseburgers), and in recent years healthcare providers have certainly gotten the message that we want better managed, less expensive healthcare. I saw nothing that compared the Medicare patient improvements from 1999 to 2013 to results for non-Medicare patients (i.e., everyone under 65), or compared the fee-for-service portion of Medicare (the subject of the study) to similar results for the managed care portion (which wasn't studied).

As near as I can tell, the reason Medicare patients were selected for this study is simply because they have a huge, analyzable database, not because Medicare is doing something right. The "USA Today" headline suggesting that Medicare had something to do with the improvement is misleading, at least based of my reading of the story.

David Newquist said...

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2411282

The study was limited to fee-for-service Medicare patients 65 or older. It was not a comparative study, but a measurement of outcomes in a specific program. However, there are other ongoing studies of healthcare among the general population and certain segments of it. A comparison can and certainly will be made.

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