Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Doctors leaving their practices

Doctors leaving their practices
Al Ritter

Yesterday a group of cardiologists filed a law suit against the Obama Administration for a new law that takes effect as of January 1st, reducing the Medicare payments for nuclear imaging to patients over 65 years old, by 40%!

It hasn’t been pathetic enough that doctors have had their pay reduced 40 % over the last 4 yrs for fraudulently holding back pay increases, now they want to decrease doctor’s pay even more. Doctors accepting Medicare have had to endure a price freeze by government for the last 4 years, while listening to Obama demand that in the future they go to digital record keeping, and not being promised one dime in the exchange.

In Maryland we endured an administration that falsely froze the prices on the power industry (BGE) to a level that couldn’t be sustained. Instead of incremental increases, we were blasted after the price freeze was dropped to 80 to 100% increases.

The Obama Administration thinks the same naïve principles can be applied to Healthcare by not only continuing this price freeze, but extending it to nuclear imaging. Only an idiot could possibly deny that this is the beginning of healthcare rationing. They have started the reduction of Medicare services without even so much as passing the Healthcare reform bill, what can possibly happen after the bill passes? Rep Alan Grayson, a New York carpet bagger who represents a district in Florida, accused the Republicans of wanting the elderly to die rather than to receive services, but it is HIS party that is presently involved in reducing services to the elderly by limiting radiology services.

I have had my general practitioner for 25 years, and had established a good relationship with him, but due to the looming healthcare reform, he has basically given up. He sent me a letter this fall explaining that with the present healthcare situation he will no longer accept ANY forms of insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Instead he will only offer the first 350 patients a concierge service. For a flat fee he will offer his services in an unlimited amount for one year. This may be a great idea for the upper crust, but for a patient that only sees his doctor 2 to 3 times a year; the fee is above what I would normally spend.

My doctor has included the baby in the bath water as far as my services require, as I can’t afford the doctor’s annual fee plus the regular insurance I would require for hospitalization and other services. I feel as a patient, as if I’m being punished for what the government wants to do. My doctor has included my insurance company in the very group that has reduced his pay for the past 4 years, when his anger should be aimed exclusively at the government. Doctors as a whole might be taken more seriously if they boycotted Medicare and Medicaid entirely. If no doctors took the government reduced rates the outrage would overpower Congress who refuses to pay doctors annual increases.

I beg the doctors not to punish the people who pay them, but to punish the people who refuse to give them incremental increases. Insurance companies have never refused them increases, only the government has. The healthcare reform’s plan is to withhold inflationary increases, not for basic reform, nothing to hold prices down in the future. What effect will low prices have if there is nobody left to treat the elderly?

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1 comment:

barb p said...

This is so wrong. I know people who now go to "Patient First" for any health needs....very sad...