A Grotesque Twist to the Los Angeles Homeless-Hospital Saga
Only three days ago, I wondered what Los Angeles hoped to achieve by passing an ordnance forbidding hospitals from discharging ER patients without their written consent. As I noted, many homeless people would be happy to stay in the hospital for quite a while under such circumstances. I also blamed government laws and regulations for creating perverse incentives for hospitals.
But I had no idea how perverse: the Wall Street Journal reports that hospitals and ambulance operators in Los Angeles are being charged with fraud for luring homeless people into hospitals in order to claim reimbursement from Medicare and Medi-Cal for “uncompensated” care. These unfortunate people “often received unnecessary and even harmful diagnoses or treatments”. Then, they were sent on their way and the accounting department scratched up a bill to send to the taxpayer.
Nothing can excuse this disgusting conduct, but let’s not forget that subsidy and regulation are the father and mother of corruption. There’s too much government, and too many layers of government, involved in Los Angeles’ hospitals, preventing the community from holding them accountable. It’s time for Leviathan to release his deadly grip on hospitals in the City of Angels.