Is Obamacare Helping Hospitals Keep Patients Healthier?

National Journal: “Hospitals are doing a better job at keeping patients healthy, and it’s partly due to reforms put in place by the Affordable Care Act.”

“Hospitals prevented nearly 15,000 deaths and 560,000 injuries by reducing additional illnesses and infections acquired in the hospital, preliminary data from the Health and Human Services Department show. That would mean upward of $4 billion in overall health-spending savings between 2010 and 2012, according to Wednesday’s report.”

Jason Millman: HHS “partially attributed the decrease to Affordable Care Act programs, one of which penalizes hospitals for high readmission rates and another which rewards hospitals for quality care. The readmission penalties alone hit 2,225 hospitals last year. These programs, which took effect in October 2012, are still new, and the industry is still working through how the incentive structures could be better targeted.”

National Journal: “While some of these practices were in place in hospitals prior to the Affordable Care Act, according to the AHA, only now are the changes accelerating across the nation.”


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  • oh, look at the many ways the law actually does bend the cost curve

  • carlos

    Hard to reconcile that kind of claim when we see today that the cost of signing up patients for Obamacare in Hawaii totalled $10,000 per enrollee. Not exactly the epitome of efficiency, is it?

    • moderatesunite

      not really when the average per enrollee across the country for the federal exchange was $647. That cost reflects badly on Hawaii but is irrelevant to the health and cost of the overall program.

    • EricFromTheHill

      Typically when you are dealing with computer networks, many geographical price variations don’t have a real effect, i.e. the cost of setting up a website in Hawaii is the same as it is in Kansas, though the cost of many other things is much lower in the latter. Coupled with the fact that Hawaii is the 11th least populous state, the fact that not all that many people live in Hawaii is a big part of the reason we see its cost per enrollee higher.

      California’s is quite a bit lower, but still more expensive than the federal exchanges, which cover the vast majority of the country. Ironically, this whole thing may discredit the paleoconservative argument that states are better with government programs than the feds.

      If, and this is a big if, those 15,000 would-be deaths mentioned above cost $10,000 each, that’s a total of $150 million. Are 15,000 lives not worth half the cost of a single MIM-104 Patriot missile?

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