A few more de­vel­op­ments and pre­dic­tions for the year ahead

Modern Healthcare - - EDITORIAL MODERN HEALTHCARE - NEIL MCLAUGH­LIN Man­ag­ing Editor

Some un­usual pre­dic­tions for what 2012 might bring

Happy New Year. Our first is­sue of 2012 con­tains a pre­view (p. 23) of the big is­sues and trends as seen by Modern Health­care’s re­porters. In our next is­sue on Jan. 9, our Washington bureau cor­re­spon­dents will an­a­lyze the out­look for health­care pol­icy and pol­i­tics. While our staff has done some ex­cel­lent work, there are some de­vel­op­ments they may have missed. As a com­ple­ment to their cov­er­age, we of­fer these pre­dic­tions based on re­cent trends:

Cam­paign­ing for re-elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will hail his health­care re­form law and tell peo­ple they’ll re­ally like it—some­how, some­day, some­where.

The U.S. Congress, whose pub­lic ap­proval rat­ing hits 0.5%, will con­tinue to shun a per­ma­nent fix of the Medi­care physi­cian pay­ment for­mula. It will avoid what now to­tals a 97.9% cut by pass­ing an ex­ten­sion of the cur­rent sys­tem ev­ery Thurs­day ex­cept for Thanks­giv­ing, when it will give doc­tors a free turkey.

Os­car the Grouch from Sesame Street will de­clare his can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent on the And-you-thought-those-Other-guys-were-mean Party ticket by stat­ing that sick peo­ple are icky and that he doesn’t want to give up any of his garbage to sub­si­dize their care.

Char­ity Alms Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal will lose its tax-ex­empt sta­tus af­ter it com­pletes con­struc­tion of its 103-story pa­tient tower.

The U.S. Supreme Court will up­hold the re­form law’s in­di­vid­ual in­sur­ance man­date but rule that the name Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act is ar­bi­trary, capri­cious and an un­con­sti­tu­tional mouth­ful.

Repub­li­can law­mak­ers will fil­i­buster against the nom­i­na­tion of Dr. Don­ald Berwick as per­ma­nent CMS chief for six months be­fore they learn that he left the job last year. They then will de­mand the dis­missal of any­one at the CMS who said hello to him.

HHS’ in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice will tell Congress that the amount of Medi­care fraud in South Florida alone now ex­ceeds the national debt of Greece.

Mil­i­tant Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion del­e­gates up­set over health­care re­form will in­tro­duce a res­o­lu­tion de­mand­ing the re­peal of the 21st cen­tury.

The Joint Com­mis­sion will hire Je­suit se­man­ti­cists to come up with a ster­ile-sound­ing term to de­note “pa­tients drop­ping like flies.”

The CMS will con­fess that it has no idea what an ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tion is and rule that if you want to call your­self an ACO, that’s OK.

Med­i­cal records se­cu­rity breaches will re­sult in the dis­clo­sure of sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion for ev­ery Amer­i­can ex­cept Kim Kar­dashian. She will then use her data as the ba­sis of a new re­al­ity TV show.

For-profit hos­pi­tal chain merg­ers, ac­qui­si­tions and spin-offs come to a halt when the churn­ing be­comes so in­tense that no one can re­mem­ber whom he works for.

Sarah Palin will say the 2,000-page health­care re­form bill is ac­tu­ally a cook­book for space aliens to pre­pare meals made from hu­man flesh.

Don­ald Trump will run as an independent and win the White House, which he will con­vert into a casino where cit­i­zens can gam­ble for health cov­er­age. His HHS sec­re­tary, Martha Ste­wart, will be­gin her term by say­ing the na­tion’s health and mood will be im­proved if Amer­i­cans just whip up a sim­ple in­au­gu­ral din­ner of canapes, freshly har­vested French truf­fles, Asian root veg­eta­bles, duck l’orange, bananas Foster, cap­puc­cino and home­made party fa­vors.

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