Cuts to Hospitals Cut Seniors’ Lives
By Todd Beamon and John Bachman
Constitutional scholar and patient advocate Betsy McCaughey tells Newsmax. TV that more seniors will lose their lives under Obamacare because they will be treated at substandard hospitals.
“The Obama health law takes $716 billion out of future Medicare funding and shifts it over to fund entitlements for people under age 65,” McCaughey tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “This is going to force hospitals, hospice care, dialysis centers, homecare providers to take care of the same number of seniors for much less money – hundreds of billions of dollars less money. And it’s going to force hospitals to downgrade the care they provide seniors.
“Once hospitals are forced to downgrade care, seniors will die from conditions that they could have survived, recovered from – gone home to play with their grandchildren again – if they’d been treated at a higher-cost hospital,” she said.
McCaughey, who served as lieutenant governor of New York from 1995 to 1998, then referenced the February 2011 issue of “The Annals of Internal Medicine.”
“It presents data on over two million patients that show that patients treated at low-cost hospitals, the kind of hospitals that the Obama health law will force all hospitals to imitate, seniors treated with that kind of low-cost care, don’t survive,” she said. “Whereas, other seniors treated with higher-cost, more intense care actually recover from illnesses and go home and resume their active lives.”
McCaughey holds a doctorate in constitutional history and has written two histories of the U.S. Constitution. She also is president of the Defend Your Health Care advocacy group and a Newsmax contributor.
Her latest book is “Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It.”
McCaughey said the primary way Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Health Care Act, will affect hospitals will be through the firing of nurses to keep costs low.
“When hospitals are forced to take care of seniors for less money, they don’t do it by eliminating fraud, waste and abuse. Instead, they lay off nurses. And when nurses are spread thinner, patients push that button when they need help and they wait longer. Too long, in some cases.
“We’ve seen the evidence that seniors will literally lose their lives when hospitals have less money to spend taking care of them.”
She said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is erroneously being “sucked into” backing such Obamacare features as pre-existing conditions.
“Pre-existing conditions is really a smokescreen because so few people in the United States are ever turned down for health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
“Medicare can’t do it. Medicaid can’t do it. Employers can’t do it when they provide health insurance. Only a very, very small fraction of people who buy individual policies have been turned down.
“We’re talking about something that really is a pretend problem,” McCaughey concluded. “It was created by the Obama administration – and it’s not an issue that Romney should even be sucked into.”
If Obamacare were repealed, McCaughey said she wants it replaced with a program that allows people to enroll in the plans of their choice and to buy insurance across state lines, among other features.
“Unfortunately, the Obama health law forces everyone to enroll in a one-size-fits-all-government-designed health plan. It forces many people to pay for things they don’t need and can’t afford.
“I would make sure that the government takes its hands off your doctors’ decisions,” McCaughey added. “Right now, under this health law, for the first time in the history of this country, the federal government can actually dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients. So even if you bought a health plan with your own money, the government is still in charge of your care.
“And, I would like to allow people to buy health insurance state lines – so that people in states like New York, where health plans are very, very expensive, can go to another state and buy health plans that are much more affordable.
“There are many, many reforms that can be put into place, but the first thing that has to be done is to repeal the Obama health law in its entirety because this health law is deadly to seniors,” McCaughey said. “Seniors pay for more than half of the cost of this entire law because of cuts in Medicare. This law is deadly for seniors.”