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Hospitals’ Medicare over-reliance strains health-care entry for others

COVID-19 has left deep scars on households and neighborhoods throughout Florida as we deal with the lack of family members…

By Staff , in Medicare , at April 17, 2022


COVID-19 has left deep scars on households and neighborhoods throughout Florida as we deal with the lack of family members and longer-term well being results. For Latino working households, the ache has been even worse.

Based on the CDC, Hispanic or Latino individuals are 1.1 occasions as more likely to die from the virus as white, non-Hispanic individuals. A nationwide survey discovered half of Latinos have a member of the family or shut good friend who was hospitalized or died from COVID-19. Half of Latinos say that they or somebody of their family misplaced a job or took a pay lower through the pandemic.

Earlier than the pandemic, Florida’s Puerto Rican neighborhood already struggled to search out dependable, reasonably priced well being care. Many people work in service and care jobs the place employers refuse to supply reasonably priced protection. One-quarter of the heroic front-line caregivers who saved Florida going are Hispanic. They’ve labored tirelessly in unimaginable circumstances, placing their very own lives and well being on the road to heal and look after all of us, whilst many would not have secure protection for their very own households.

However a few of Florida’s extra highly effective elected officers and our state’s largest hospital company are making selections that make it tougher for Puerto Rican households to get coated.

HCA, the biggest hospital company within the nation, owns 43 hospitals in Florida, giving it important affect over our health-care system. Final month, nurses and hospital employees who work for HCA, by way of their union, launched a report with proof displaying how HCA could also be routinely over-admitting Medicare sufferers.

These over-admissions could have allowed HCA to rake in almost $2 billion in overcharges to the Medicare program that all of us fund by way of our taxes. HCA hospitals in Florida have an emergency division admission price above the state’s already-high common. Out of the almost $2 billion HCA could have introduced in from over-admitting Medicare sufferers, $1.1 billion was taken from Florida.

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Over-admitting sufferers can put folks in danger and put extra stress on health-care employees who’ve been pushed to the restrict. It might drive up prices for all of us, pricing entry out of attain.

As an alternative of holding highly effective firms like HCA accountable and serving to everybody get entry to the fundamental care all of us have to thrive, too a lot of our state’s leaders ignore the challenges going through working folks.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has stood in the way in which of Floridians’ entry to well being look after years. In 2020, he vetoed scores of proposals to enhance entry, eliminating $58 million lawmakers included within the state funds to retain healthcare employees.

Sen. Rick Scott additionally stands in the way in which, opposing any effort to increase Medicaid. He is aware of firsthand how highly effective firms like HCA can divert cash out of health-care packages. Whereas Scott served as a high govt at HCA, the corporate pled responsible to 14 felonies for fraud and paid $1.7 billion in fines — the biggest health-care fraud case in American historical past.

We’re calling for solutions and accountability. Our communities deserve higher. So does everybody who has obtained care at an HCA hospital. The cash we put money into Medicare ought to present high quality look after seniors, not enrich executives and shareholders on the nation’s wealthiest hospital company.

Congress and state regulators ought to examine these allegations to make sure transparency and accountability in terms of Medicare. Puerto Rican working households are prepared to hitch along with Floridians of all walks of life to make our voices heard. Let’s register to vote and elect leaders who will maintain firms like HCA accountable and assist all households get entry to reasonably priced care.

Maria Revelles and Jimmy Torres, each of Orlando, are a part of the Co-Founders group of La Mesa Boricua de Florida, a motion to strengthen the facility and well-being of Puerto Ricans by way of political illustration, and financial empowerment, and cultural affirmation.



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