Obamacare is forcing the closure of small rural hospitals nationwide

Finding out what’s in it: The regulations imposed by Obamacare have raised costs so much that dozens of small rural hospitals, generally serving poorer communities, have been forced to close.

Since the beginning of 2010, 43 rural hospitals — with a total of more than 1,500 beds — have closed, according to data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The pace of closures has quickened: from 3 in 2010 to 13 in 2013, and 12 already this year. Georgia alone has lost five rural hospitals since 2012, and at least six more are teetering on the brink of collapse. Each of the state’s closed hospitals served about 10,000 people — a lot for remaining area hospitals to absorb.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to improve access to health care for all Americans and will give them another chance at getting health insurance during open enrollment starting this Saturday. But critics say the ACA is also accelerating the demise of rural outposts that cater to many of society’s most vulnerable. These hospitals treat some of the sickest and poorest patients — those least aware of how to stay healthy. Hospital officials contend that the law’s penalties for having to re-admit patients soon after they’re released are impossible to avoid and create a crushing burden.

The article also describes how the high cost converting all hospital records from paper to electronic, something that Obamacare requires, is also forcing the shut down of these hospitals.

More than 2,200 hospitals face penalties under Obamacare for how they decide to treat patients.

Finding out what’s in it: More than 2,200 hospitals face penalties under Obamacare for how they decide to treat patients.

Starting in October, Medicare will reduce reimbursements to hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates — which refers to patients who return within a month — by as much as 1 percent. The maximum penalty increases to 2 percent the following year and 3 percent in 2014. Doctors are concerned the penalty is unfair, since sometimes they have to accept patients more than once in a brief period of time but could be penalized for doing so — even for accepting seniors who are sick.

The penalties are bureaucratic and statistical in nature, and have no relationship to the actual treatment of patients. Thus, they illustrate in one bold sweep the idiocy of Obamacare and why it must be repealed.