Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

Here’s the kind of doctor you will see under Obamacare

May 13, 2010 Doctors Without Borders

by Emily Ramshaw and Matt Stiles
May 11, 2010

Enlarge graphic by: Matt Stiles, Jacob Villanueva

That’s right — they’re not from Texas. Newly licensed doctors enlisting to treat the state’s Medicaid and Medicare patients are more likely to have been trained at international medical schools, according to a review of state medical licensing data.

Of the roughly 1,500 doctors who have received fast-tracked licenses in the last three years in exchange for agreeing to treat the state’s neediest patients, nearly 40 percent were trained at international medical schools — everywhere from India and Mexico to Uzbekistan and Rwanda — while a quarter were trained at Texas medical schools. The Texas Medical Board fast-tracked more licenses for doctors trained in Pakistan than it did for those educated in Louisiana or Oklahoma. (Scroll over our interactive world map to see where these internationally trained doctors got their medical education.)

Wake up, America!! Harry Reid is giving you Death Panels!

December 20, 2009

Don’t give up–be prepared to call you Congressmen/Senators if the healthcare bill makes it to a conference.

Toll free numbers to the Congressional Offices

By politicaldoc

If you are one of us wise and older people who still use regular telephone land lines, here are some toll free numbers to get to the Congressional switchboard operators who will put you through to any House or Senate office:

866-338-1015    877-762-8762     866-220-0044     877-851-6437

Mayo Clinic losing money on Medicare/Medicaid–will limit number of patients

October 15, 2009,0,5171753.story

Doctors and hospitals will never survive on Obamacare if rates are mandated at the present Medicare level.  Mayo Clinic has instituted a $55 additional facility fee for private patients to make up for the loss every time they see a Medicare or Medicaid patient.  Obama showed his complete ignorance about government healthcare when he went around praising the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics.  A doctor or clinic has to have unbelievably low OVERHEAD expenses to make it on Medicare reimbursement, not fancy offices, EMR’s and expensive equipment.

I have seen several smug comments today that everyone should just be on Medicare, including a really naive statement by Arkansas Blue Dog Mike Ross. He’s in Congress and he does not understand there is a $37 trillion unfunded liability in Medicare NOW, without the ridiculous utopian idea that the whole country can just be on Medicare.

There will be far fewer doctors and hospitals if Obamacare passes.    And quality of healthcare will diminish greatly. Be careful what you wish for.

Orly Taitz hearing Oct. 5th Eyewitness Report (33 pages)

October 6, 2009

This was a link off Donofrio comment thread:

Doctors will not see Medicare patients under heinous provisions of Baucus bill.

October 2, 2009

I have written several posts about how the Democrat  healthcare reform is going to destroy the system as we know it.   If the public option passes, it will mean the end of private health insurance except for Congress and the very rich.    Insurance companies cannot compete  with  the referee, that is the  federal government,  which does not pay taxes and can operate in the red for years.   Numerous Democrats have said the public option is a Trojan Horse for single payer socialized medicine.    And Harry Reid is bound and determined to pass something with the public option as payback to the unions.

Doctors will have to ration care or quit practicing medicine.   Read this excerpt from American Thinker:

Because Baucus and the Dems apparently can’t be bothered to post the bill online, the Washington Examiner had to get a copy the old fashioned way.  When they did, here is what they found on pages 80-81, “hidden amid a lot of similar legislative mumbo-jumbo”:
“Beginning in 2015, payment would be reduced by five percent if an aggregation of the physician’s resource use is at or above the 90th percentile of national utilization.”  Translated into plain English, it means that in any year in which a particular doctor’s average per-patient Medicare costs are in the top 10 percent in the nation, the feds will cut the doctor’s payments by 5 percent.
[…] This provision makes no account for the results of care, its quality or even its efficiency.  It just says that if a doctor authorizes expensive care, no matter how successfully, the government will punish him by scrimping on what already is a low reimbursement rate for treating Medicare patients. The incentive, therefore, is for the doctor always to provide less care for his patients for fear of having his payments docked. And because no doctor will know who falls in the top 10 percent until year’s end, or what total average costs will break the 10 percent threshold, the pressure will be intense to withhold care, and withhold care again, and then withhold it some more.  Or at least to prescribe cheaper care, no matter how much less effective, in order to avoid the penalties.

IMAC in Baucus bill will destroy Medicare: There will be no doctors

September 24, 2009

Scary article at American Thinker about  how the Independent Medicare Advisory Commission is in the Baucus bill after being reportedly removed from HR3200.   IMAC allows Obama to appoint his death panel loving cronies to decide what Medicare benefits will be allowed and how much doctors will be paid. No matter what rationing is incorporated into Medicare,  if there are further cuts in Medicare reimbursement to physicians,  it will be time to throw in the towel for doctors who are  going to lose more money every time they see a Medicare patient.   Not even the revered Mayo Clinic can afford to see Medicare patients at the CURRENT reimbursement rate–Mayo has tacked on a $55 or more “facility fee”  to their private patient office visit to break even with their Medicare losses.

Harry Reid is threatening the “reconciliation” process;  I sure hope Dr. Coburn used the August break to study up on how to obstruct  this process or we are doomed.    Pelosi is giving the finger to the Blue Dogs and re-instating the full leftist agenda including the public option.    Mike Ross says he will listen to the good people in Arkansas and vote against any form of the public option   Let’s see if the Blue Dogs bark,  or  lie down and roll over.

Obama has no clue about Medicare Advantage program and continues to lie

September 21, 2009

Here is a transcript of Obama on ” Face the Nation”  today.

Bob asks him about the Medicare Advantage program (also called private Medicare HMO), which is  several different programs run by insurance companies for Medicare eligible senior citizens.   One better know example is Secure Horizons.    About 20% of all Medicare eligible citizens are now covered under the private Medicare Advantage program. To be in an Advantage program, one must “opt out” of Medicare for at least one year .   Every year you can either re-join traditional  Medicare or stay with your Advantage program.   When the Advantage programs came out several years ago (a Republican idea),  seniors did not understand they were totally out of the Medicare program for that year which resulted in a lot of confusion in doctors’ offices.   Seniors like the MA programs because insurance companies often cover eyeglasses , hearing aids, and sometimes prescriptions.   When Obama says he is cutting “waste” out of Medicare, the numbers he quotes includes the amount CONGRESS has voted to give to insurance companies to take care of seniors who would otherwise be on traditional Medicare.    Medicare Advantage is not fraud, waste, or abuse–it was voted on by Congress.   Many doctors complained to their Republican congressmen when last year they  wanted to expand money for the Medicare Advantage program, which meant more money to the insurance company, while doctors were threatened with a 10% across the board cut in reimbursement.   Note that this was a time when Republican doctors did not agree with their  Republican representatives in Congress.

Obama makes the incorrect statement that the MA insurance companies are “overcharging.”    Insurance companies are given a subsidy  by the CONGRESS  for each senior in their MA programs;  the insurance companies can’t just send in a bill to Medicare/US government.   Obama brings up his usual line about the wicked insurance companies making huge profits on the Medicare Advantage program which is flat out false.    Again, if Obama thinks the insurance companies are paid too much,  all he has to do is tell Congress to appropriate less money for the program, pay the insurance companies less,  and let the free market work.   But no, the Democrats hate the evil Republican MA program, so they want to eliminate it altogether.   That is why it is a lie everytime  Obama tells seniors they will have no change in their benefits.   At least 20% of usually poor seniors who like their MA program will get screwed—they will be FORCED to go back to traditional Medicare with fewer benefits.

Mr. Obama, please get Ms. Sebelius to explain how the MA program works.

The Demise of Primary Care Physicians

February 3, 2009

Here  is another article that quotes a starting salary of $150,000 for doctors right out of their residencies–there are areas of the country where young doctors can get employment at this salary level.   But note these doctors are saddled with  $100,000 to over $200,000 in medical school loans.  With this financial burden,  young doctors rarely even think of  “hanging a shingle,”  that is, opening their own practice, as was customary decades ago.    It is understandable why going into primary care is the choice of less than 5% of doctors completing their 3 year residencies.

I doubt the doctor in this article, who loses $9.00 everytime he gives a pneumonia shot to an elderly patient,  makes $150,000 a year.     The day of solo practitioners is  quickly fading away even in rural areas.  Right now in Texas half the primary care physicians practice solo or with one other doctor, but these practices are disappearing rapidly.    There is no year-end six figure bonus  for the 64 year old family doctor who gets up in the middle of the night to take care of his patient’s heart attack.

Daschle is now out of the picture, but I shudder to think who will be the Messiah’s next pick to “overhaul”  our healthcare system.   When I hear medical economists who advise Obama making statements that nurses can perform most of what a primary care doctor does,  I know the family doctors’ concerns are not going to be  a priority in an Obama administration.

Primary Care Doctors are not making $160,000**

February 3, 2009


Late Medicare reimbursements from the federal government have created financial problems for New York doctors, causing some practices to take out loans of up to $3 million, according to physician advocacy groups.

The problem began in September 2008 and may be linked to a change in the firm contracted by WellPoint, Inc.’s National Government Services branch to handle Medicare claims processing, according to the New York Medical Society.

According to experts:

  • There are difficulties any time there is a transition between private providers, says Jamie Story, president of the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii.
  • But ultimately, given the right incentives, a private provider can provide more efficient, streamlined services than any government; and if they don’t, a new provider should be selected.
  • Public programs are notoriously bad business partners, said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute.

The lower payments from these programs make it difficult for doctors to even cover their costs, Turner continued. “The bigger the role that government plays in our health sector, the more we are going to find access and quality compromised.”

Source: Krystle Russin, “Late Federal Payments Forcing New York Doctors Into Debt,” Health Care News (Heartland Institute), January 2009.    (Above summary by National Center for Policy Analysis)   Here’s another NCPA summary.

**I cringe every time I hear the American Medical Association and others quote this statistic, because it is not true!

Shades of things to come in American Healthcare?

December 21, 2008

This article from   UK TimesOnline  typifies the problems that occur when government bureaucrats manage and control a country’s national healthcare system.   Adding more bureaucrats to micromanage how doctors practice medicine, in particular,  limiting the number of hours a doctor can work to 48 hours/week,  is a prescription for disaster.   Imagine you are very sick on a Friday morning and arrive at your family doctor’s office.   The door is locked with a CLOSED sign.   Alas, your doctor finished working his statute -limited work week on Thursday afternoon and you are out of luck until Monday morning.    For the few of you patients who still have  a doctor who will  “call you in an antibiotic”,   he/she  won’t be allowed to take phone calls after hours either–contrary to the opinion of insurance companies, taking phone calls is considered work (just ask an attorney).    Every primary care doctor who has been in practice more than a few years can tell you about patients who always call after hours and on the weekend who think their doctor just enjoys talking to them and is eagerly waiting for their beeper or cell phone to ring at midnight .  On the line is one of the doctor’s patients, who has had symptoms for several days, has self diagnosed a recurrent  sinus infection that responded so well to Zithromax in 2004, the last time he came in for an office visit.

When Mr. Obama is able to get his socialized healthcare passed,  changes will probably come in steps.   I expect a broad extension of S-CHIP to all children and then to an ever enlarging adult population.     Because the socialists in an Obama adminstration will preach for equality in all aspects of healthcare,  I predict a medical system like Canada’s or Great Britain’s will eventually be passed by a Democrat dominated Congress,  though a 2-tiered system will likely survive—Congress will certainly exempt themselves from socialized medicine!

In a future post,  I hope to discuss reimbursement for doctors.   While Congress gave themselves a $4100 payraise,  doctors had to fight to prevent a 5.5% Medicare reimbursement cut.   Due to decreased reimbursement over the last decade  from Medicare and private insurance, while overhead costs continued to rise, many doctors are making 20 to 30% less than 10 years ago in absolute dollars (not including effect of inflation).