The administration bragged about reducing infections, but didn’t count the type of infection that kills the most patients — Clostridium difficile or C. diff.
That’s like a kid’s report card that leaves out reading and math. It doesn’t tell the whole story.
Truth is, C. diff is raging through hospitals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Thomas Frieden calls it one of the “nightmare bacteria.”
It kills 14,000 patients a year, and increases your risk of dying while in the hospital by 75 percent.
The Leapfrog Group, a trusted patient-safety advocacy outfit, released a new assessment of US hospitals on Oct. 30 that gave 41 percent of hospitals C, D or F grades because patients there were harmed by medical mistakes, falls and other injuries and infections.
According to Leapfrog, progress on patient safety is stagnant — and by some measures hospitals are doing worse. That’s the opposite of what the administration claims.
Read it all here
Just around Thanksgiving Obama redefined what health plans are “adequate” for larger employers (100-plus workers) to offer under the Affordable Care Act. He also told insurers to pay for new benefits — while warning that, if they don’t, they may be forced to.
Here are the basics:
* Obama will require large employers to provide more coverage than the Affordable Care Act specifies. The move disqualifies plans now offered by 1,600 employers to 3 million workers. Those employers will have to find a way to cover the higher costs — and some will surely do so by stopping coverage for spouses or part-time workers.
* The new rules suddenly treat state high-risk pools as adequate coverage under the Affordable Care Act — a 180 from what the law actually says. When the ACA became law, these plans for people with chronic illnesses were offered in 35 states. Winners will be those who live in the 10 states that haven’t yet phased out their high-risk plans. Losers: the many thousands in 25 states that already gave up their plans to comply with the ACA’s mandates.
* The rules tell insurers to give new enrollees a 30-day grace period during which they can continue to use doctors not in their plan’s network. Winners: people who need time to switch to in-network doctors. Losers: taxpayers — who’ll be obliged to bail out the insurers clobbered with the extra cost.
* Speaking of bailouts, Section 1342 of the law promises taxpayer-funded bailouts to insurers that lose money selling plans on ObamaCare exchanges. But the bailouts can’t happen unless Congress appropriates the money, something the GOP-controlled Congress won’t want to do. Yet the new Federal Register notices explicitly double down on the administration’s pledge to make insurers whole if losses are bigger than expected.
Under the Constitution, Obama lacks any authority to make such changes to the health law, or any law. Only Congress has that power. But he’s doing it, and not for the first time.