As part of their effort to eventually end all private health care, the Democrats placed a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that in essence shuts down construction of new physician-owned hospitals and blocks existing ones from expanding.
At issue is Section 6001. It gave physician-owned hospitals a Dec. 31, 2010, deadline to acquire Medicare certification to cover new and expanded facilities. Without certification, which can't be obtained until a facility is open, the hospitals are unable to bill the federal government for treating Medicare patients. When that deadline could not be met, construction at 45 hospitals was shut down.
So were the jobs of the men who were working on the facilities, not to mention the additional health care those hospitals would have provided.
Make no mistake. Physician-owned hospitals were targeted by the Democrats. Multiple sources say Democrats Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and Rep. Pete Stark of California are behind the wording of Section 6001. Baucus has a history of belligerence toward physician-owned hospitals, and Stark has been trying to punish doctors who have financial interests in hospitals since the 1980s.
Of the more than 5,700 U.S. hospitals, only 275 are physician-owned. Critics say these facilities are able to choose the healthiest and most well-off patients and do so to boost doctors' profits. They believe these hospitals hurt community-based ones financially because they're left to deal with the poorest and sickest patients.
But if it were true that physician-owned hospitals catered only to the healthiest and wealthiest, they wouldn't be concerned about serving Medicare patients, and construction on those 45 hospitals would not have stopped. Nor would the president of Physician Hospitals of America have expressed an interest, as he has, in serving more Medicare and Medicaid patients.
While they don't enjoy a stellar reputation in Washington, physician-owned hospitals perform high-quality treatment. Researchers have found that outcomes are often superior and patients like the care.
Even if all were below industry standards, it's not within Washington's limited powers to regulate these facilities out of existence. Nor is it wise to shut them down when Democrats are trying to artificially force health care demand higher.
War on doctors, health insurance companies, oil companies, the Chamber of Commerce, .......... on and on the list goes. Notice the common thread? Progressives are only at war with fellow American citizens while enemies like radical Islam and Marxism in countries like Venezuela and N. Korea get a free pass. I can't help but wonder if the TEA Party is too late to fundamentally reverse course.