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Multiple left-wing media hosts tried Sunday to press President Donald Trump’s campaign officials and surrogates over his suggestion made earlier in the week that some doctors are misclassifying coronavirus deaths for profit.
“Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors, they’re very smart people. So what they do is they say, ‘I’m sorry, but everybody dies of COVID.’ … It’s like $2,000 more. So you get more money. This could only happen to us where cases are now surging,” he’d said at a Michigan rally Friday.
This claim triggered widespread rage from the media class, and so naturally, it became the central topic of discussion during the Sunday shows.
First up was Fox News’ Chris Wallace of Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday.” Early Sunday morning, he tried grilling Trump surrogate Corey Lewandowski about the claim.
“What is the president’s evidence that doctors, many of whom are risking their lives treating these patients, are in fact lining their pockets by saying they are inflating the number of Covid debts?” he snidely asked.
“I haven’t seen that evidence, but we have seen on multiple occasions instances where people have claimed that they have died from COVID-19 and that wasn’t the case,” Lewandowski replied.
“I think we’re categorizing individuals who may have COVID but aren’t dying from that and claiming it as a COVID death, which is not accurate.”
Wallace responded by citing some studies that suggest otherwise and also reading an angry statement from the American Medical Association.
Watch the discussion below:
Later Sunday morning on ABC News’ “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos tried pressing 2020 campaign adviser Jason Miller on the same matter.
“Why does the president say doctors are inflating COVID numbers?” he asked.
“To your comment about the president yesterday on the campaign trail, I don’t think he was attacking anybody. He was talking about how most Americans want to safely and securely re-open the country, get back to work …,” Miller tried replying.
Stephanopoulos cut him off to say, “Jason, we all just saw it. He talked about doctors inflating COVID deaths for money.”
Miller responded by saying the same thing Lewandowski had.
“George, I’m not going to get into the billing aspects of which there have been many reports on. There have been independent things pointing to that.”
He added that the president’s main point had been that it’s just not worth it to lock people down again over increasing COVID death numbers, especially considering his belief that these numbers aren’t legitimate to begin with.
“The fact of the matter is people want their life back to normal. They’re tired of the lockdowns. Look at Democrat-run states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. People are tired of the lockdowns,” Miller said.
Listen to the discussion below:
Though Lewandowski and Miller neglected to mention this — and both Wallace and Stephanopoulos weren’t even aware of this — the fact is that there’s evidence to substantiate some of the president’s claims about doctors.
Moreover, the evidence comes from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield. Testifying before Congress in July, he admitted that “there’s some reality” to the notion that hospitals/doctors are sometimes counting non-COVID deaths as COVID deaths. As an example, he cited what had happened during the HIV crisis.
“I think you’re correct in that we’ve seen this in other disease processes too. Early in the HIV epidemic, somebody may have a heart attack but also have HIV. The hospital would prefer the DRG for HIV because there is greater reimbursement. So I do think there’s some reality to that,” he said.
This is possible because COVID deaths are in fact billed at a higher amount than non-COVID deaths. This is an indisputable fact.
It’s not baseless, liar.
Hospitals are billing about $40k more on average for COVID designated patients, and around $200k more if they were put on vents.
Trump is absolutely correct, and it’s why there are so many false positives. https://t.co/ivW251V3rJ
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 31, 2020
Cheryl Chumley of The Washington Times wrote about this back in April.
“Kaiser Family Foundation just did a nickel-and-dime analysis based on New York Times reporting of what hospitals, by state, have received for coronavirus patients from the stimulus bill — and it’s anything but logical: New York apparently gets about $8,300 per coronavirus patient; New Jersey about $12,000. Idaho, meanwhile, received $88,300 per patient, and North Dakota, $230,000 per coronavirus case,” she reported.
She added that the initial payments “were based on hospitals’ Medicare revenues, rather than on the direct, discernible impacts of the coronavirus.”
“The problem now is hospitals are still limited by government in the services they can provide, which makes them still dependent on taxpayer dole-outs to stay financially afloat — which makes them hot to compete for coronavirus dollars,” she continued.
“‘[There has been] a furious lobbying effort from hospitals in hot [coronavirus] states to make sure they don’t get overlooked’ in the next wave of stimulus funding, The Hill wrote.”
In other words, she concluded, “[t]he more coronavirus cases a hospital reports, the more coronavirus dollars a hospital will get.”
The same still holds true now, though to be clear, none of this proves that doctors and hospitals are purposefully inflating COVID cases and/or deaths for profit.
They do however debunk the lie by the media that there’s no incentive for doctors to inflate coronavirus cases and deaths.
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