Covid Amplified Pre-Existing Hospital Ills

Ms. Schilling passes a sign thanking health-care workers at Banner-University Medical Center.



Photo:

Caitlin O’Hara for The Wall Street Journal

“The Covid Storm: Yearslong Drive for Efficiency Left Hospitals Overwhelmed” (Page One, Sept. 18) should be mandatory reading for every member of Congress. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 balanced the federal budget by manipulating the Medicare growth curve to be below real inflation. Hospital administrators attempted to insulate themselves from this market manipulation. As the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients has grown, cost pressures forced hospitals to increase revenues, decrease supplies and lower nursing/patient ratios. Cars have seat belts and air bags not because we are planning to be in accidents, but just in case. The costs of those safety measures being added to our vehicles are equally passed on to all consumers. Not so with hospital costs. By creating price controls,

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