But…if we cut doctor reimbursements, won’t fewer doctors be willing to do the work?
And won’t that then lead to waiting lists, or even patients unable to find a doctor? Unable to get the medical care they need?
The Senate adjourned Thursday evening without voting to prevent a 21.3 percent cut to the payments doctors receive under Medicare. The payment is scheduled to take effect June 1.
A 21.3% cut in payments, from a program that already underpays, and requires a boondoggle of paperwork.
Fortunately, the cut might not take place:
The federal agency that oversees Medicare is asking its contractors to postpone for 10 days processing claims for services provided on or after June 1. The move is intended to give lawmakers time to retroactively freeze the rate cut.
They’ve done that before. But:
If the House and Senate approve the House language, lawmakers would have to tackle the problem all over again in 2012, at which point physicians would face a 33 percent cut.
So be good, all you physicians. Don’t piss us off, or make us look bad. Don’t you go badmouthing our pet legislation. Or, y’know, else.
And in case anyone thinks Medicare is the only government health care program having trouble providing services…well, you should probably ask a poor person in Wisconsin why he can’t find a dentist.
Great Britain’s government-run health care agency, the National Health Service, is expanding its program of rationing. The first victims? Kids.
So: when a private insurance company fails to provide health care, that’s obscene, and proof we need more government. But when government fails to provide…well, that’s…okay?
Oops: I repeated a fallacy, there. I said: “when the government fails to provide.” But that’s not what the government does. That’s not what Medicare, or BadgerCare, or ObamaCare do. They don’t “provide” care. They don’t treat illness and injury; they don’t hire doctors; they don’t run hospitals.
They’re health insurance. They offset the cost of health care.
I won’t go into the whole Supply and Demand argument here. You, the reader, either understand it already, or will dismiss it as irrelevant and probably a lie and, anyway, people need help.
The problem with being an insurance company is: you can’t control your own costs. You’ve promised to pay a certain portion of certain medical costs for your customers, but you don’t get to set those costs yourself. You’re totally at the mercy of the people who do set those costs. That’s the truth, whether you’re a private company or a government.
Oh, sure, you can tell providers: we’ll only pay this much. We’ll only pay 90%, or 80%, or 50% of what you normally charge. Any company is perfectly free to do that.
And any provider is then free to tell that company: pound sand. And then they’re free to stop providing. For your customers, at least. And that’s a damn fine way for you to go out of business.
The reason Medicare is cutting reimbursements, and the reason BadgerCare can’t attract dentists, and the reason the UK’s NHS is cutting back, is: it’s expensive. They can’t afford to pay more. So people will go without.
Go without! The exact same situation that led so many people to demand government health care in the first place!
The difference being: under the free market, one can improve one’s own situation. Under government care, that’s not as easy to do. And the greater the scope of that government care, the harder caring for oneself becomes.
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From Lorie Byrd of Polipundit and Byrd Droppings: Betsy Newmark has an excellent commentary on a Howard Kurtz article about