Sometimes getting what you wished for is, on careful examination, not exactly the thing for which you wished. I wonder if hospital folks feel that way about Obamacare. 

Years ago a hospital in Tulsa was excoriated in the press (and, by inference, slammed by state government, since the state reported the stats) for having too many infant deaths — more, in fact, than any other hospital in Oklahoma. It took a few days or so for the hospital’s response to sink in. “Yes,” the hospital spokespeople said, approximately. “We do have more infant deaths, and the reason is that we are the No. 1 tertiary-care hospital in Oklahoma for children. We get all the tough cases, by ambulance or helicopter, transferred by other hospitals.” 

Government often gets it wrong: I read in the New York Times a day or so ago that hospitals are being penalized for readmissions. Apparently, there is a big financial hit if I am treated for something or other requiring a hospital stay and then something goes wrong and I am readmitted. Imagine I had surgery, and after four days of recovery, I return home. But the next day, something goes wrong. Back I go to the hospital, but now it must treat me at a big discount. To me, this seems like the wackiest idea of all time, since fixing a human is not quite like fixing anything else. By my reckoning, medicine got a whole lot worse when diagnosis related groups (DRGs) came about — DRGs seem to remove the need for thoughtful diagnosis from all in medicine. Brilliant!

Readers will note that I sometimes quote the New York Times. My suspicion is that even the Fox News folks read the New York Times. Whether you love it or love to hate it, it’s still one of the best newspapers, if not the best, in the United States and maybe the world.     

Have a sensational week. Read a good newspaper before all newspapers are gone, and if you have a moment or two, suggest to your politicos that someone put common sense into the Affordable Care Act.

For more from Richard Hoe, see:

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