A change we can agree on

Date posted: November 6, 2013

The new national health care system has sparked intense debate and disagreements, but there’s one program provision that most people can agree with, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

“Of course, we’re talking about the Affordable Care Act.  Of course, some people call it Obamacare. And I think it does address one problem that we’ve seen in our health-care system in a way that is both going to save money as well as increase the quality of care. And the problem is that patients, particularly older patients, often will perhaps go into the hospital for a procedure, for care, they’ll be released and then they won’t follow through, unfortunately, on doing the things they need to do to stay healthy. They won’t eat better. They won’t exercise. In some cases, they won’t even take their prescribed medications. And so they’re back in the hospital in a rather short period of time. And, of course, that costs not only the person but costs the public sector, in terms of insurance, a lot of money.

The Affordable Care Act is going to penalize hospitals if they see that patients that went through a procedure are back in the hospital within a rather short period of time. So what this is doing … is motivating hospitals to begin to monitor patients after they’re released (with) visits (or) phone calls to make sure those patients are doing the kinds of things that they should do.

Insurance companies are also getting in on this also. This has a tremendous possibility of saving a large amount of money, and so I do think this is a change that probably we can all agree upon.

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