May 27, 2019
One in five rural hospitals in the U.S. is in danger of closing, thanks to low reimbursement rates, says a recent study. Private insurance companies deny individuals, but they also don't pay the amounts submitted by doctors and hospitals. Even worse, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act pay even lower reimbursement rates than do private insurers.
In the past nine years, at least 100 hospitals have closed in rural parts of the country. The numbers closing impact some of the poorer states, like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and a dozen other states. The study says a third of rural hospitals cannot make ends meet, threatening to close and leave entire areas without a nearby hospital. This leaves patients at risk in emergencies, when they have to travel farther away to find care.
Congress sets the rules for how much reimbursement goes to hospitals and doctors from Medicare and Medicaid - and those two programs account for almost 60% of patients in hospitals. Sometimes doctors refuse to take patients because the doctors' bills are not paid back.
What kind of society, what kind of politicians create a situation in which only those who have money are assured of the health care they need? A society only for profit.