Ryan Duels on Medicare: Scientific Evidence Proves He’s Right

By Betsy McCaughey

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R. Wisconsin) set the record straight on Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention,  warning that  “the most powerful threat to Medicare is Obamacare.”

Scientific evidence proves that’s true. The provider cuts in Obamacare are deadly. If Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney can cut through the campaign noise to deliver that evidence  during the final nine weeks, an outpouring of senior voters could give them the national majority they need to win.

Here is the evidence:

Cuts to future medicare spending pay for more than half the Obama health law. Seniors have to bear the brunt of “health reform.”

The Obama administration claims that cuts to hospitals and other providers will not harm seniors or reduce benefits. They claim the cuts will force providers to  eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse.” The election should not turn on this lie. Payment cuts will force hospitals to spread nurses thinner. It will result in lower survival rates for patients hospitalized with heart attacks and other common conditions. When payments to hospitals were cut  in 1997 and the years that followed,  patients who went to the hospital with a heart attack were  6-8% at worse risk of dying  at the hospitals sustaining big cuts compared with the hospitals that did not incur big cuts.  (National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2011)

Beginning in Octobers, 2012, the Obama administration will reward hospitals that spend the least per senior and penalize those that spend more than that rock bottom amount. The impact will be deadly, costing possibly 40,000 live a year. Evidence from all the hospitals in California shows that seniors treated at the lowest spending hospitals have  substantially worse chances of surviving heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and other common conditions.

Researchers concluded that about 3,500 seniors  a year who die at the lowest spending hospitals would survive, go home, and resume  active lives if they were  treated at a higher spending hospital that provided more care. (Annals of Internal Medicine, February 1, 2011)  California has about 10% of the elderly population. Forcing hospitals everywhere to imitate the low spending hospitals will likely result in at least 35,000 to 40,000 deaths a year.

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