Previously, we highlighted the story of physician-owned hospitals apparently being targeted for selective attack by the new health-insurance bill that many worry will threaten overall quality of care. Today, Robert Bluey from the Heritage Foundation offers an in-depth look at a poison pill within the bill for physician-owned hospitals, and you won’t like what you find.
Talk about intrusive government — Bluey reports:
The prohibition on expansion is just one aspect of the new rules governing physician-owned hospitals. They are also required to submit annual reports on each physician owner, investor and any other owners, including the nature and extent of their ownership and investment interests. Obamacare also restricts new investments.
Physician owners must tell patients they refer to their hospital about their ownership stake and disclose that the hospital is owned by doctors on the hospital’s Web site and advertising.
Hospitals that comply with all of the new regulations under Obamacare still face the prospect of an audit from the Department of Health and Human Services. And physicians who are found in violation of the transparency rules are subject to fines of up to $1 million.
These regulations are shocking from a point of privacy and the ability of the free market to operate without the government intruding. But the law also threatens to curtail expansion of high-quality healthcare and all the construction jobs that come with it. Bluey talked with one hospital association expert and reported:
“At a time when we should be looking for additional ways to provide more access, this is going to have the opposite effect,” Sandvig said of Obamacare. “New hospitals that were under development are not going forward right now. That hurts the patient by limiting access to high-quality care. It hurts communities where these hospitals were going to be built, and it hurts the health care market by putting thousands of jobs at risk.”
Sandvig estimated 25,000 jobs are at risk in 37 states. Shovel-ready construction jobs for new and expanding hospitals will also evaporate, as will physicians’ ability to rescue inner-city hospitals and build in rural communities.
That’s a poison pill for our entire economy, not just healthcare.