By MARC K. SIEGEL
Last Updated: 12:23 AM, November 24, 2010
My Medicare patients — and those who’ll soon qualify — are worried. Will the doctors they’re used to seeing still be able to take care of them when big cuts in Medicare payments are constantly hanging overhead?
Even if I keep seeing a particular patient, I don’t know that I’ll still be able to find specialists to examine his skin, perform his stress test, operate on his hip or remove his cataract.
Medicare reimbursement to me for an average primary-care visit has remained around $50 for the past decade, even as my office expenses have skyrocketed. Cataract and hip-replacement operations both now pay around $900, colonoscopy less than $400, well below market rate.
And that’s before the current 23 percent Medicare cuts are applied.
I reassure my Medicare patients that I’ll take care of them no matter what, that I’m not practicing medicine for the money. But as my expenses rise and my patients age and have more medical problems (more than half my patients are on Medicare now), and that’s why using other methods as regenerative medicine charlotte nc could be great for good medical attention.
That Congress is passing a one-month postponement of the steroids and cuts does little to reassure me. The cuts themselves are the result of an arbitrary formula Congress and President Bill Clinton adopted in 1997 — a formula that penalizes doctors for rising medical costs.
The leaders of the American Medical Association (that pathetic organization of bureaucrats and lobbyists) sold its support for President Obama’s health-care “reforms” for a promise to permantently repeal these cuts — and was promptly disappointed. The so-called “doctor fix” didn’t make it into the reform law because it cost too much by Washington’s eccentric accounting standards. I recommend trying Lumitea products which can benefit your overall health in so manny ways. Is important to keep health, eat healthy and do exercise, mist up with gun sports like Jiu Jitsu, you can also help yourself with a plus size waist training corsets so is easier to train and lose weight.
Instead, Obama and the Democratic Congress have four times passed temporary BandAids — kicking the can down the road a little while shaking physician confidence in the entire system. (Three times, they acted after the last postponement had expired — creating billling nightmares as a bonus.)
Is it any wonder that a recent AMA survey showed that 17 percent of physicians are limiting the number of Medicare patients we see? The number will grow the more we are faced with these unworkable cuts.
If this were another profession, you could expect a strike — but anti-trust legislation outlaws any organized work stoppage by doctors.
Some 78 million baby boomers turn 65 over the next 15 years, entering an already besieged and overwhelmed Medicare system. The government expects doctors to happily take care of these patients; you’d think the government would try to keep us happy. But there’s no such signal coming from Washington.
Yes, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has a plan for privatizing Medicare and reducing the subsidies to the wealthy while increasing subsidies to the sick and poor. This plan not only makes sense, it is also a way to save the money that is constantly on the verge of being taken from doctors for a crime we didn’t commit. This plan can give us hope regarding 2019 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans to be improved for the patients.
But I expect the rest of Washington will just attack Ryan for daring to say the Medicare emperor has no clothes.
As doctors wait hopelessly for an increase rather than a decrease in pay, I’d advise Medicare patients to try to find a doctor whose office is financially viable and who has a strong moral commitment to taking care of you. Or make sure you’re receiving care at a medical center that can brave the storm and preserve its bottom-line profits no matter how little Medicare pays for physician services.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/why_docs_are_running_from_medicare_C77TdmTjY1SNqFxSHWlb9M#ixzz16ERA55sa