Forget pulling the plug on Granny. She may not get plugged in! Poor Granny will likely have trouble making it past a hostile hospital admissions desk if the Baucus health-care reform bill passes. You see, hospitals will be penalized for readmissions of sick older patients.

Obviously, hospitals should take care to avoid unnecessary admissions. But sometimes going back for more treatment is a necessity, especially for the frail elderly. In the future, however, hospitals might be reluctant to let Granny return. CNS News explains:


Slashing Medicare payments to hospitals that readmit ailing senior citizens–a component of the health care reform bill under consideration in Congress–could have serious consequences for the hospitals, including raising costs on hospitals an estimated $19 billion over 10 years, according to the American Hospital Association…


Baucus’ version of the readmissions policy would penalize hospitals 20 percent of their Medicare reimbursement rates if patients are readmitted for the same condition within seven days and by 10 percent if readmitted within 15 days.


Elderly people with pneumonia or heart disease may prove particularly vulnerable, as these conditions are cited in the bill.