Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

June 10, 2014

The right to know

I received an article that I feel needs to be shared with you. The article is written by Julie Creswell, Sheri Fink and Sarah Cohen.

They do an excellent job bringing transparency to the huge surge continuing in hospital charges and the unexplainable differences in cost for the same procedure depending on the hospital provider. The dam has been breached when data from 3,000 hospitals is now available for scrutiny and questions as they publish Medicare data.

Let’s take a look at some of the salient points presented in the article I was requested to write about. They report that “hospital charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials on Monday.”

We need to ask why the cost of health care continues to exceed the rate of inflation. The increases reported of over 120 percent over the last decade or so with relatively tame inflation of less than 40 percent and wage increases below 30 percent deserve an answer. We pay 17 percent of our GDP headed for 20 percent while trying to compete for good jobs with countries paying 8 to 12 percent. This is a tough hill to climb.

They report that charges increased for 98 common ailments in all but seven hospitals. Maybe they need to do the type of benchmarking best of the best comparison used by some industries and find out how the ones controlling cost are doing it.

After reading about the scandalous behavior at some VA hospitals, a complete benchmarking study of the ones doing a good job versus the “cook the books to look good and earn a bonus” ones would have surfaced the problems long ago.

“The data for 3,317 hospitals, released for the first time last year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, again shows broad variations in what hospitals charge for the same procedure. While experts debate why one hospital charges significantly more than another for the same procedure.”

Text Only
Opinion
  • Pensions need to be addressed I will have to admit that I am slightly overwhelmed today with the receipt of articles and suggestions for a column. One of my Fitness Mafia colleagues constantly tells me the columns are too long and trying to address different subjects just dilutes

    July 22, 2014

  • VA still failing our vets Jymm’s preferred attire is a skin-tight Minnie Mouse T-shirt with bright pink windbreaker pants. Even when not sporting his choice outfit, he dons short shorts and shirts with holes in them, because that’s what he finds most comfortable. His Santa Mo

    July 22, 2014

  • Feed your home piggy bank with a 15-year mortgage This summer, we finally decided to take the plunge we’d been contemplating for a while: converting our 30-year mortgage to one with a 15-year payoff. It’s a big step. Our payments will go up somewhat (the PITI — principal, interest, tax, and insuranc

    July 19, 2014

  • Under the dumb There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 19, 2014

  • Widening the loopholes This week, two more U.S. companies moved to reestablish themselves overseas, allowing them to pursue lower corporate tax rates. They will join dozens of others who have chased lower tax bills abroad while maintaining operations in the United States,

    July 19, 2014

  • Patriotism not questioned Editor:I am responding to Mayor Mary Jane Chesley’s Reader’s View article in the Thursday, June 19, 2014, Register-News “Patriotism is strong.”The mayor has missed the point of my Reader’s View/opinion article in the local newspapers regarding Flag D

    July 19, 2014

  • Who's telling a story now? For this administration, failure is always the result of a “communications” problem. Otherwise, failure might be taken as evidence of misguided ideology and incompetent execution, right? It’s a weird excuse for the president who fancies himself to be

    July 18, 2014

  • Why cutting corporate taxes won't help the middle class WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, I testified in front of the Joint Economic Committee on the topic of assessing the recovery after five years.As you can imagine, congressional testimony can be pretty frustrating these days for members of the fact-base

    July 18, 2014

  • Heart of darkness in buffer zone BOSTON — “Be careful. This is a dangerous corner.”It’s not until you visit the Boston Planned Parenthood clinic at the heart of the recent Supreme Court buffer-zone case that you realize the unnecessary danger it created. And I’m not even inside.On t

    July 18, 2014

  • When should U.S. use force? Was the Iraq war the greatest strategic error in recent decades, as some pundits have suggested recently? The simple answer is no. That honor belongs to the failure to take action against al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden before the attacks that killed ne

    July 17, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks