The law of unintended consequences strikes again:
As part of an Obamacare initiative meant to reward quality care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allocating some $1.5 billion in Medicare payments to hospitals based on criteria that include patient-satisfaction surveys. Among the questions: “During this hospital stay, how often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain?” And: “How often was your pain well controlled?”
A 2012 study found that the most satisfied patients tend to spend more money on prescription drugs and have higher mortality rates. And the rate of fatal prescription-opioid overdoses in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last 15 years.
So why does Obamacare tie a health provider’s likelihood of getting full reimbursement from Medicare to the opinion of people who really, really want addictive narcotics?