Health Reform Error Could Cost Children’s Hospitals

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously remarked that Congress had to pass health care reform legislation so that Americans could “find out what is in it.”  The latest discovery of what’s inside the health care reform legislation is a drafting error that could increase drug costs at children’s hospitals by millions of dollars.  The Boston Globe reports:

The error was a simple and unintentional omission in the final, frenetic days of drafting the landmark legislation and reconciling House and Senate versions. Congressional staff intended to allow children’s hospitals continued access to the portion of a federal program that offers below-market prices on 347 specific medicines for rare, life-threatening conditions. But that language was accidentally altered. . . .

If [additional reform] efforts fail, Children’s Hospital Boston officials say they will be forced to find a new way to fund the drugs for poor children with rare diseases, such as neurological disorders and severe juvenile arthritis.

That would be expensive. The Boston hospital, one of nearly 30 across the country with this problem, estimates the mistake will cost between $1.5 million and $3 million annually. Nationally, the problem costs children’s hospitals about $100 million annually, according to [James] Kaufman [of the National Children’s Hospital Association].

I’d suggest that members of Congress should read legislation more closely before it is enacted, but I’ve already learned many VC readers (and some contributors) don’t believe members of Congress should be expected to read bills at all.