The report “voices a universal human desire: more money, less accountability. The association implies that federal financial penalties aimed at reducing harm to patients are too onerous for hospitals that care for Kentuckians,” the editorial says. “Little more than anecdotes are offered with no acknowledgment that some Kentucky hospitals are recording record bottom lines and steep drops in uncompensated care.”
The newspaper offered its own anecdote, a large one, noting that the University of Kentucky‘s medical center is a major beneficiary of the Medicaid expansion under federal health reform: “The 2014 period saw an 83 percent drop in non-paying inpatients, a 66 percent drop in non-paying outpatients and a $60 million increase in Medicaid revenue. UK Healthcare‘s annual net income through March is up $70 million over the same time last year. Not all of that increase is due to the Medicaid expansion or Kynect,” the state exchange for enrolling in Medicaid or buying private insurance.
“The important point,” the paper says, is that “Slowing down spending on hospital care is one of the best things we can do for the economy and our health. The United States spends the highest percentage of its GDP on health care of any country but gets worse outcomes. Even by U.S. standards, Kentuckians over-utilize hospital care.”