Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Physicians Frustrated by Medicare

Increasingly physicians are being frustrated by Medicare and the witch-hunt for fraud. Many are considering dropping their Medicare and Medicaid patients, which would result in higher profits and less hassle.  Most don’t want to do this, but they don’t see many options. For example, here’s a letter by a primary care physician who is ready to drop Medicare. What will he do when the entire system is run by the government?

Other physicians are cost-shifting underpayments from Medicare to private patients. What will they do when the entire system is run by the government?

Meanwhile, the government tries to squeeze even more blood from these medical turnips. According to Human Events, since 2001, the real inflation-adjusted payments to physicians under Medicare Part B have decreased well over 10 percent, and many specialties have seen far greater cuts. These cuts would have been even larger, except that Congress has acted to block the cut every year since 2002.  Yet the underlying formula laid out back in 1997 remains unchanged, and the current planned cuts are 21.2 percent for this year, along with about 5-percent cuts for the next few years, all not including inflation. Because of this, many doctors will go out of business and many more will cease to participate in Medicare and Medicaid (where payments are most often tied to Medicare rates) if these cuts occur.  If health care reform is, in fact, supposed to increase access to health care AND promote quality care, this downward path is unsustainable. But in Washington, the cost of paying doctors for actually providing care is not being considered as part of reform.

And don’t forget that Medicare is the biggest denier of claims, denying 6.85% of claims in 2007-2008, which is more than other insurer. So who's the most "heartless" now? And why should Americans accept the idea of being forced into a government-run system when, based on documented government experience, they will be more likely to see their claims denied?

Folks, the health care bill will likely come up for a vote this week. Have you made your voice heard? If not, you and your parents will regret it. Soon.

Labels: ,

2 comment(s):

Two of moms docs. stop treating Medicare patients. One she had for yrs. The other not so long. It is hard changing docs. when your in your 70's.

By Blogger karen, at 5:41 PM  

Karen, I'm so sorry. I know you aren't alone. We haven't faced that YET, but after today, I expect much more. Just makes our jobs harder. Blessings to you.

By Blogger Pat, at 9:24 PM  

Post a comment

<< Home