Mayo Clinic, one of the country's top hospitals, is in the midst of controversy after its CEO said that the elite medical facility would prioritize the care of patients with private health insurance over those with Medicare and Medicaid.Seriously: We need to burn down the existing healthcare system.
The prioritization by the Rochester, MN-headquartered medical practice was recently revealed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. And it has quickly drawn out some sharp critics—as well as sympathizers.
In a statement to the Minnesota Post Bulletin, Dr. Gerard Anderson, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management, compared the prioritization to policies seen in developing countries. "This is what happens in many low-income countries. The health system is organized to give the most affluent preference in receiving health care,” he wrote.
Likewise, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper, expressed surprise and concern by the statements of Mayo’s CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy. "Fundamentally, it's our expectation at DHS that Mayo Clinic will serve our enrollees in public programs on an equal standing with any other Minnesotan that walks in their door," she said. "We have a lot of questions for Mayo Clinic about how and if and through what process this directive from Dr. Noseworthy is being implemented across their health system."
Mayo can use its standing as a prestigious institution to negotiate higher prices with commercial insurance companies, but it can’t do the same with the government. As such, those with private insurance can bring more money to the hospital than patients with the same treatments on government programs. Under the ACA, the number of people covered by Medicare and Medicaid has expanded. However, the law also decreased the number of uninsured, which can be costly to hospitals.
In his speech, Noseworthy said that Mayo had reached a “tipping point” with a recent 3.7 percent surge in Medicaid patients. “If we don’t grow the commercially insured patients, we won’t have income at the end of the year to pay our staff, pay the pensions, and so on,” he said. “So we’re looking for a really mild or modest change of a couple percentage points to shift that balance.”
Nevertheless, the nonprofit still generated substantial profits in 2016: $475 million.
19 March 2017
We have now discovered that our healthcare system has even corrupted the world renowned Mayo Clinic: