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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Emperors Have No Doc Fix

Remember when "Medicare for All" (also known as "Single Payer") was the banner under which Alan Grayson and his followers in the left-wing blogosphere marched?

Medicare for All would not have meant "Health Care for All" because the dirty little secret was that Medicare reimbursement rates were so low that doctors would not have taken on more Medicare patients.

ObamaCare made the situation worse, because despite spending over a trillion dollars, ObamaCare did not include the "Doc Fix" to prevent a further 21% cut in reimbursement rates. In the quest for a politically acceptable CBO score, the Democrats ignored the looming reimbursement cut.

Now that the Doc Fix is the subject of political wrangling, more and more physicians are turning away Medicare patients:

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.

ObamaCare is fundamentally flawed, and that flaw has been exposed for all to see.

Harry "Havoc" Reid and Max "Near Chaos" Baucus have no Doc Fix, and what we now can see is not very pretty.

Related Posts:
Ambush Interviewer Gets Ambushed
Harry "Havoc" Reid
Baucus: ObamaCare Creates "Near Chaos" Without More Spending

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  1. It seems to me that the "Doc Fix" was always negotiated under a separate piece of legislation on a annual or biannual basis. It was not something that made the headlines because all sides were reasonably satisfied with the outcome.

    The Doc FIX was one of those lied to the American People that they had stayed on budget when bringing in this legislation. The awful truth was that Doc Fix was not part of the bill. Had it been, well, that's all over now.

    My fear is that not only will people on fixed incomes not be able to afford good care but their doctors may just pack up and go to India or elsewhere to earn a decent living. Meanwhile, this exposes another Obama lie - that you will not have to change doctors.

    And about insurance....

    There is no way this White House has benefited anyone.

    And an aside: I read today where the Secretary of the Department of Labor said Illegals should be paid a living wage. Again the thinking is ludicrous. Illegals should not be here but if they are given amnesty, they need to go to the back of the line. This nation is broke.

    AND illegals and terrorists continue to stream across the border as the oil fills the Gulf. Upside down times to be sure.

  2. I have always wondered if the bunch of lawyers in charge of this legislation (Obamacare) really believed that medical professionals should be indentured servants, or the priests and nuns of the new religion of governing by science.

    How about free legal care for all? At the rate laws are passed, it must not be long before everyone is a criminal. Should anyone have to pay for a will, living will, power of medical attorney, etc? Having your personal affairs in order (as your body is private property (or used to be), so is your possesions) can give many peace of mind, so maybe some legal services should be paid for under Obamacare.

  3. There's a time to make money, Becky, but that time has already passed. When has Communism ever proved to have a downside?

    In all seriousness, I think it's funny that the admin can't even get it's act together in enough time to keep buying off the doctors.

  4. There was a time that the low Medicare payment rate made sense.

    That time was when the Medicare population was a small fraction of the US population. The government's theory was that the insured, including self payers covered both the costs of the physician's time and the underlying costs of administration of the physician's service.

    Thus, Medicare should only pay for the physician's time and not the underlying cost of administration of the physician's service.

    This is the 'incremental cost' theory of Medicare repayments.

    This theory began to break down when the physicians had to deal with the time-consuming Medicare bureaucracy, with Medicare's long time delay in making repayments, and the costs of negotiating with Medicare to get any repayments at all!

    Medicare's policies essentially required physicians (and other health care services) to fund the lumbering Medicare bureaucracy!

    Now, we are to expect physicians to accept a 21% cut in repayments, while the government bureaucracy requires physicians to 'donate' a huge proportion of physician's time and money to actually receiving a payment, sometime months after the Medicare patient's physician visit.

    The US has several million government employees, none of which has the ability to do much of anything in promoting the success of government programs like Medicare. Frankly, the overall thrust of government bureaucracy seems to be to raise costs for no apparent reason.

  5. Scooter Jay

    You are right on the money.