Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Obamacare and its included hundreds of billions of cuts in Medicare hasn’t even passed yet, and the short shrifting of doctors fees in Medicare is already driving them away from treating seniors. From the story:

Medicare has become a scary word to the doctors at the largest private group practice in Kansas City, Mo. It’s so scary that most physicians at Kansas City Internal Medicine, with 65% of its nearly 70,000 active patients age 65 or older, have stopped accepting walk-in Medicare enrollees, said Dr. David Wilt, an internist at the group. Wilt and his colleagues say they are shunning the area’s growing senior population because they believe Medicare doesn’t reimburse physicians enough to cover the cost of care. “And if Medicare further cuts its reimbursement rates, then we’ll be functioning at a loss,” said Wilt.

Is this an anomaly?Medicare bureaucrats tell us not to worry:
The federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it is aware of anecdotal reports of doctors not taking Medicare beneficiaries. However, the agency maintains that its own data, and other industry reports, show only a small percentage of beneficiaries unable to get physician access. CMS said 96.5% of all practicing physicians, nearly 600,000 doctors, currently participate in Medicare. “Geographically, the level within every state is less than 5% of Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulties accessing a doctor,” said Renee Mentnech, director of CMS’ Research and Evaluation Group.

That may be so, but the cuts are just beginning to bite:
Federal law requires that Medicare physicians’ payment rates be adjusted annually based on a sustainable-growth rate that’s tied to the health of the economy. Physicians face a rate cut every year, although Congress has at the last minute blocked those cuts from happening in seven of the last 8 years. Dr. Keith Jantz, an internist at Kansas City Internal Medicine, fears that if the 21% cut goes through next year, “physicians around the country would stop seeing any Medicare patients. It’s happening in places like Las Vegas and in Anchorage, Alaska, and this could be a harbinger of what’s to come unless Medicare maintains decent [payment] rates,” Jantz said.

Exactly. Pass Obamacare and we will see more flesh taken out of physicans’, hospitals’, and other providers’ financial hides as Obamacare pushers try to make the books balance by cutting hundreds of billions from Medicare. And if they get the public option, these cuts will eventually continue across the board—especially once private insurance is driven into the ditch. That will mean fewer doctors, less quality care, and eventually limited access.

You want to look at the future under Obamacare?  It is alreadybeginning to manifest.

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.

Tags

Loading...

Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles