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Wednesday, August 9th 2006

Physicians Are Liars!

Let us just make me out as the jerk I am – I am opposed to indepdent review of physician complaints and contentions concerning the state of healthcare in this country and just generally hate anyone who doesn’t hold the AMA/state medical association line in terms of policy.

A joke. A joke, I say!

Holt, over at THCB, seems to contend that because the last fee cut didn’t significantly affect the ability of Medicare patients to find healthcare (Study 1 & Study 2), that all future cuts will have the same negligible effect.

I have two reponses.

It is easy for the GAO or the Center for Health System Change to sit in an office and say, well, look at the numbers. Meanwhile, the nation’s paper for high school drop outs (its reputation is on the rise since the NSA story broke) provides outdated antecedal evidence to the contrary!

When Helen Edmonds moved from one Atlanta suburb to another, she began to look for new doctors.

“The first thing they ask is what insurance do I have,” Edmonds says. “When I say Medicare, they say the doctor doesn’t take Medicare.”

In Colorado, Charlotte Sennett, 72, and her husband stayed in traditional Medicare for years rather than switching to an HMO, even though it cost more. “We felt it was more stable,” says Sennett.

But now the Sennetts face a problem they never expected: Their Denver-area doctor will no longer accept the traditional government insurance program.

After years of using an insurance plan just about all doctors and hospitals accepted, Medicare patients are now shocked to find they aren’t wanted.

Cue the horror music. Okay, that was a little bit of a joke but really The Healthcare Blog is way off base.

This isn’t linear path we’re on – $1 dollar less in reimbursement, one physician who doesn’t take Medicare. We’re going to reach a point in terms of reimbursement and access is just going to go kaput. Everyone is going to wake up and you won’t be able to tell the difference between Medicare and Medicaid patients in terms of access to healthcare.

From Center for Health System Change,

“While concerns about Medicare beneficiary access have focused on physician payment, policy makers should recognize that Medicare fees are only one factor in physician decisions to accept new patients—in other words, Medicare fees don’t exist in a vacuum,” said Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., president of HSC, a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Yeah, cause there are soooo many issues why there are such large gaps in Ob/Gyn availability for women with Medicaid. It isn’t just the reimbursement. And the Medicare rates don’t need to be cut to the levels of Medicaid rates to start seeing the effect.

The doctors are standing off saying, “We’re going to do it, we’re going to drop Medicare patients.”

Matthew Holt sits on the other side, “Pleeease, I’ve got these GAO & HSC reports over here telling me otherwise…who am I going to believe the healthcare providers who will actually make the decision or these impeccable centers of policy research?!”

They never make mistakes. Take a look at one of the GAO previous success stories. Good thing they freaked out about that…cause it wasn’t one of the biggest flops of all time or anything. *Rolls Eyes*