The New York Times discussed the new ( Medicare policy directive being published next week. It basically says that Medicare won’t pay for hospital errors.

So, if a hospital causes you to have an infection, bed sores or a pressure ulcer, Medicare won’t pay for the treatment. The government believes this will save tens of millions of dollars a year. In Michigan, where the focus has been on limiting new infections in hospitals, the program has saved nearly $250 million in the last year or so.

If you can save that kind of money, you can bet that private insurers will be all over this.

Is this a good idea? On the show this morning, Earl (my first caller) felt that this would only cause prices to rise. While hospitals would be prohibited from charging the patients if Medicare wouldn’t pay, Earl pointed out that they would raise the prices on everything else.

Perhaps, but then you could shop around based on infection rates for example.

What do you think?

Aug. 19, 2007.