This weekend it was my honor to attend the Kenly Police Department swearing in ceremony for 5-year-old Eric Daniel Grady and present him with a flag that was flown over the Capitol. Eric has muscular dystrophy and, more than anything, he wanted to be a police officer. The Kenly Police Department, and others in his community, helped make his dream come true. Click here for a news report of Eric’s story and the ceremony.
In this week’s newsletter, you will find information about the devastating Obamacare mandate that went into effect Monday that penalizes doctors, hospitals and patients for readmissions to hospitals within 30 days of discharge.
Below you will also find my statement regarding recent news that the White House is advising companies to ignore the WARN Act, which alerts employees of possible layoffs due to military cuts from sequestration.
I hope you will read the information below and share it with your friends by forwarding this email. You can find additional information on my website at ellmers.house.gov and can get news updates from Washington and the Second District by following me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and through my iPhone app. Thank you for your interest in the work I am doing in Congress and for all you do in our community.
White House Asks Companies to Ignore WARN Act and Allocates Taxpayer Dollars to Cover Liability Costs
This week we learned that the White House is calling on companies to ignore federal law requiring them to alert their employees of possible layoffs due to potential budget cuts, then offering up tax payer dollars to pay for legal fees and fines that result. The Aerospace and Defense Industry trade association recently estimated that the cuts from this sequestration will result in the loss of over 29,000 jobs in North Carolina alone. With the election almost here, the president is once again putting politics ahead of working families.
On January 2nd, 2013, the defense industry is set to face historic cuts to the businesses and resources that protect our nation and provide jobs for millions of Americans. These cuts were demanded by President Obama to be included in the debt negotiations last summer and will be enacted in three months unless a deal is reached. In order to hide the impact that these devastating cuts will have on job creators and national security, President Obama is encouraging private companies and defense contractors to disregard the law and rely on taxpayer dollars to cover the cost of all lawsuits that would result.
The House has done its part to stop these devastating cuts, passing the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 (HR 5652) in May. This bill sets in motion a plan to replace the upcoming sequester losses with responsible spending cuts in other federal programs. Senator Reid has refused to consider this bill or any other measure to halt these looming budget cuts.
According to the Department of Labor’s website:
- The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.
- Advance notice gives workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other jobs, and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to compete successfully in the job market.
- The Department of Labor has no enforcement role in seeking damages for workers who did not receive adequate notice of a layoff or received no notice at all.
A Devastating Obamacare Mandate Goes Into Effect
We are now officially in a new era of healthcare insolvency. New mandates that would deny reimbursement for hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge went into effect Monday penalizing doctors, hospitals, and their patients for hospital care that does not fit into a pre-ordained framework and schedule designed by the federal government. Penalties are set to begin going out to over 2,200 hospitals across the country, forcing doctors to make decisions that are based on financial penalties, not the best interest of their patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services is implying that hospitals can control whether or not a patient relapses. But this fails to take into consideration elderly and chronic patients with unforeseen complications and checkups. There is no question that doctors will readmit their patients when care is needed. They will not be turned away and hospitals will try to come up with other ways to offset the penalties. No matter how you look at it, these mandates will result in a decreased quality of care. This is exactly why I supported the full repeal of Obamacare and why we need to fight for patient centered solutions.
Fox News reported in August that the “pay for performance” provision of ObamaCare is set to punish roughly two-thirds of U.S. hospitals evaluated by Medicare starting this fall over high readmission rates, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News (KHN). The provision went into effect Monday:
[The provision] directs Medicare to reduce reimbursements to hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates — which refers to patients who return within a month — by as much as 1 percent. The maximum penalty increases to 2 percent the following year and 3 percent in 2014. They go on to note that “doctors are concerned the penalty is unfair, since sometimes they have to accept patients more than once in a brief period of time but could be penalized for doing so — even for accepting seniors who are sick.”
Medicare evaluated readmission rates at 3,367 of the nation’s hospitals and will impose penalties on 2,211 starting in October, according to KHN. The analysis shows 278 hospitals will receive this year’s maximum penalty of 1 percent. On the other side of the spectrum, 50 hospitals will receive the minimum penalty of 0.01 percent.