Reform law ‘thins the herd’ to line big health-care companies’ pockets
(WorldNetDaily) – Buried in the recently passed health-care reform bill is a new law granting one of the nation’s largest corporate lobbyists what it has been targeting for years: Death to its competition, and, consequently, a heavy blow to patient choice.
Section 6001 of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is responsible for Obamacare’s first casualties: a reported 60 physician-owned hospitals, which had promised to offer an innovative alternative to big,corporate and non-profit facilities, but under the new law are now “virtually destroyed,” according to advocates. Another 200-plus doctor-owned hospitals already in existence may soon be put out of business by the health-care reform law.
To Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, the move to cut doctor-owned hospitals out of the national health-care system is a foolish blow to both the industry and the patients it serves.
“The American people need more access, not less,” she said in a statement. “We need high quality, efficient, patient-centered care, not more of the same high-cost, inefficient, bureaucratic-minded care. The impact of the health-care reform bill on physician-owned hospitals is truly illogical and unfortunate.”
The new law is a victory, however, for the American Hospital Association, ranked by The Center for Responsive Politics as the sixth-biggest lobbyist presence in Washington, which has been trying for years to get government to squash the physician-owned hospital movement.
Ellen Pryga, director of policy at the AHA, told Investor’s Business Daily, “The provision is a good one that will stem the tide of an entrepreneurial approach to medicine that is potentially fatal.”
On the flip side, CEO Don Burman of the physician-owned Heartland Spine & Specialty Hospital in Overland Park, Kan., told the Kansas City Business Journal, “Because we have built a better mousetrap and because we have challenged the conventional wisdom, we are being punished.”
Under Obamacare and in the name of “transparency,” after Dec. 31 doctors will no longer be able to refer patients to hospitals in which they have a financial interest, or face being ruled ineligible to receive payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Only physician-owned hospitals already operating before the deadline will be allowed to continue.
Furthermore, even the existing hospitals will not be allowed to expand or add facilities except under extreme demographic circumstances that are nearly impossible to meet.
This means dozens of doctor-owned hospitals currently under construction across the country have completely wasted their efforts.
Dr. John Dietz, owner of the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital, for example, tells Investor’s Business Daily that because of the new law, he now has a useless, empty building.
“It is an expansion of our hospital that is three-quarters finished; it had three operating rooms for outpatient surgery,” he said. “Now it can’t be used for that purpose. We’ll have to figure out an alternative for it.”
The battle over who owns hospitals