University of Colorado at Denver professor Dr. Eric Coleman has helped author an alarming study on Medicare, the government’s federal insurance for the aged and disabled. One in five patients, the study finds, end up back in the hospital within a month of their discharge because they aren’t informed enough about how to care for themselves when they leave (via The Associated Press). And about half the patients who were hospitalized hadn’t seen a doctor before returning for emergency care.
The cost of caring for the re-admitted patients is a staggering $17 billion, a considerable portion of the $102 billion Medicare doled out to hospitals, according to eFitnessNow. Just as many people become eligible for Medicare, writes The New York Times, but they are finding fewer doctors willing to accept them because doctors’ reimbursement rates are too low and the paperwork is too time-consuming.
Meanwhile, Colorado lawmakers, many who hope to provide all Coloradans with health insurance, were told that it is a “difficult time” to pursue such a plan, reports the Denver Business Journal. While they’re waiting, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has convinced his colleagues to include a reserve fund for Medicare and Medicaid in the budget plan currently being debated in Washinton, according to The Pueblo Chieftain.