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  • Side Effects: Pre-Existing Physician Payment Problems Persist

    No one can criticize the Obamacare legislation for being too short.  But even at 2K+ pages, the new law fails to address some major problems with the health system.  One of these is the flawed formula Congress created years ago to determine how much the Medicare payment physicians receive for services rendered.

    Year after year, the Congressional reimbursement formula calls for sharp reductions in Medicare payment rates. And year after year, Congress votes to suspend its own formula. That keeps doctors from bailing out of the Medicare program, but it does nothing to remedy the problem of rapidly expanding Medicare costs.

    Congressional inaction means that physician Medicare payments are slated to be slashed by 21.2 percent. When Congress returns from Easter recess, they may enact a temporary (they’ve been down that road for years) or a permanent fix. The problem with the permanent fix – repealing their own worthless formula – is that it would immediately raise health care spending by more than $200 billion over the next ten years. Since current law, and not the doc fix, was the basis for the “deficit reduction” initially assumed for Obamacare, this creates a little problem. Unless the Congress cuts federal spending to offset the fix, the taxpayers are saddled with another big addition to the federal deficit. But Obama had pledged he would not add “a dime” to the deficit.

    The other option is the short term fix. But the docs are fed up with it. “We need more than Band-Aids…,” says As Dr. William H. Fleming III, president of the Texas Medical Association.  “We need a complete transplant…”

    Fleming’s group has launched a petition to “warn congressional leaders that some physicians could be forced to stop accepting Medicare patients if a permanent fix cannot be worked out.”  Similar organizations in 10 other states have confirmed that they will join the petition, and another 30 associations have expressed interest.

    There is a big lesson here. The perennial need for a Medicare “doc fix” exemplifies the federal government’s inability to manage health care costs effectively. And Medicare physician payment is not nearly as low as Medicaid physician payment.  And given the massive expansion of Medicaid expected under Obamacare, physicians will see even more of their income subjected to the irrational payment schemes of the politicians and the bureaucrats.  That can only lead to greater problems for Medicaid patients, who already have trouble finding doctors willing to treat them.

    Rather than create new entitlement programs and expand old ones, Congress would have done better to try to fix the numerous problems in existing programs and cut federal spending.  True reform would have made systemic changes to Medicare and Medicaid that would make them financially viable.  Instead, the programs’ fiscal woes will only get far worse.

    To learn more about the right direction for Medicare reform, click here.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Side Effects: Pre-Existing Physician Payment Problems Persist

    1. Tim AZ says:

      The good news is that congress accidentally drop their own insurance and are at this time being forced into the same plan they thought they would be exempt from. This will be interesting to watch and see what they will do to remedy their situation.

    2. Pingback: The Side Effects of ObamaCare « The Foxhole

    3. Luis Gonzalez (Flori says:

      Ooooh congress!!! You don't know what you have done to this country. Unfortunately America rationing IS COMING.

    4. Pingback: Helpful or Harmful? – Blog Watch

    5. Paul Terry Stone, Su says:

      Congresses dropping it's own insurance accidentally is fitting since they often vote on bills that they don't read and study.

    6. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      Thank God I am a nurse and can help my family, I also know a Doc. who will prescribe what I need, just hope he doesn't quit. If all the Liberals think ER's are going to be the answer, your 4 hour wait will be over 8 hours under this plan, you won't be seeing MD's, you'll see a Nurse practioner that is if you are lucy, you might only see a nurses aide or medical aide who will decide if you need a doctor. If I am able I'll wait and call my own MD in the morning.

    7. Drew Page, IL says:

      Take a good look at what’s happened in Massachusetts. they put in universal health care and eliminated pre-existing condition limitations. Since doing that, only 40% of individuals buying insurance kept it for more than a few months. People would wait until they got sick or hurt, called an insurance agent and applied for insurance, which by law couldn’t be refused. Once the necessary medical treatments were provided, these folks stopped paying for the insurance until they once again needed it and the same process was repeated.

      The insurance companies providing this insurance reported that over the prior year, the claims paid for these individuals were 600% (6 times) higher than average. Unmoved by the insurance companies claims, the governor dictated that these insurance companies must contiue providing health insurance without any rate increase. All of the Massachusetts insurance companies involved have now refused to issue any new health policies. “Yes, I’ll gladly pay a few thousand dollars of premium to have my $200,000 claim paid.” Such is the genius of Massachusetts. Obamacare isn’t that far away.

    8. Pingback: Obama’s Yapping, and Nobody’s Listening : Smart Girl Nation

    9. Pingback: Obama Administration Glosses-over Key Concerns for Doctor Shortage | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    10. Pingback: Obama Administration Glosses-over Key Concerns for Doctor Shortage | Fix Health Care Policy

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