Doctors Sick Of Medicare, Limiting Government Patients

Well, this is utterly unsurprising. And the article undersells what the docs are doing. Many are quitting Medicare entirely:

The number of doctors refusing new Medicare patients because of low government payment rates is setting a new high, just six months before millions of Baby Boomers begin enrolling in the government health care program.

Recent surveys by national and state medical societies have found more doctors limiting Medicare patients, partly because Congress has failed to stop an automatic 21% cut in payments that doctors already regard as too low. The cut went into effect Friday, even as the Senate approved a six-month reprieve. The House has approved a different bill.

– The American Academy of Family Physicians says 13% of respondents didn’t participate in Medicare last year, up from 8% in 2008 and 6% in 2004.

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– The American Osteopathic Association says 15% of its members don’t participate in Medicare and 19% don’t accept new Medicare patients. If the cut is not reversed, it says, the numbers will double.

– The American Medical Association says 17% of more than 9,000 doctors surveyed restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practice. Among primary care physicians, the rate is 31%.

The federal health insurance program for seniors paid doctors on average 78% of what private insurers paid in 2008.

“Physicians are saying, ‘I can’t afford to keep losing money,’ ” says Lori Heim, president of the family doctors’ group.

Two words: Cash Practice. When a consumer pays for a product, he values it. When he doesn’t he misuses, abuses and over-uses it.

The Baby Boomers coming into Medicare age are healthier than their forebears. The Medicare age should be bumped to around age 70. And there should also be a relatively high deductible burden at the beginning.

Anyway, back to Medicare, now. Dealing with the government is a pain the arse. They pay less and they ride you. Who needs this b.s.?

President Obama made clear that doctors are the enemy. Well, doctors are people and people work in their own self interest. Capitalism takes human nature into account.

The quasi-socialized-cum-regulated health industry is anything but free market. It rewards bad behavior. And with the demographic changes, it’s going to get worse.

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