Are Doctors Profiting by Reporting That ‘Everybody Dies of COVID’?

At a campaign rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, on October 30, Trump claimed that doctors were profiting from COVID-19 deaths, saying the following:

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 hard to know the source for the president’s claim. There is no evidence that “doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID” or that doctors are saying “everybody dies of COVID.” Through the CARES Act, which passed with bipartisan support in late March and was signed by President Trump, hospitals get a 20 percent premium or add-on to treat Medicare patients admitted with COVID-19. However, there has been no evidence to suggest that this has caused fraudulent COVID-19 death reports. 

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discussed Trump’s allegation in an interview Sunday on Face the Nation. Gottlieb explained that the CARES Act provides 20 percent more money to hospitals treating coronavirus patients because it’s expensive to treat these patients. He also explained the circumstances under which hospitals could claim that extra money.

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