Physicians Will Limit Patients if Medicare Cuts PaymentsThe Medicare funding crisis is heating up. Increasingly, I’m reading reports that physicians will stop taking Medicare patients if the government cuts Medicare payments. According to a survey conducted by the American Medical Association, 60 percent of nearly 9,000 doctors said they would limit the number of new Medicare patients they'd accept if the scheduled 10 percent payment cut is not averted.
The survey also found that if the payment cut took effect:
More than two-thirds of the doctors responding would defer the purchase of needed information technology next year.
Half would reduce their staff.
Fourteen percent would "completely get out of patient care."
Under the Medicare law, payments to doctors are supposed to be reduced to balance increases in the volume of their services. But with doctors repeatedly threatening to reduce access for elderly and disabled patients, Congress has blocked the scheduled cut every year since 2002. Because of that, this year's payment cut is scheduled to be 10 percent. Over the next nine years, the AMA estimates that the reductions would total about 40 percent, even as doctors expect their costs to increase 20 percent.
I know that when I go to Mom’s medical appointments with her, the doctor is always in a hurry, more so than my physicians. He’ll give her five to ten minutes. That’s it. Then we have to make another appointment, which is difficult since I drive four hours to be there.
This problem is serious already, and will only get worse if the pending immigration bill passes. It’s estimated that plan will cost $1.2 trillion! And yet, we can’t provide care that has already been promised to our elderly. And Gen Sandwichers, don’t count on Medicare being there when we are eligible! It’ll be broke long before that.