Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Anyone in Washington Read?

While the primary focus is on the economy, there are still folks in Washington that want to expand Medicare to all, or at least those in the 55 - 64 age range. The argument is, we already have a health care plan in place that covers "everyone" over age 65, why not expand it to others?

Well other than the fact the Medicare is broke, I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't expand Medicare.

Except maybe this reason . . .

Glenda Fried had no problem getting her PCP to accept Medicare. Others are not so lucky.

They talked of having to make at least 15 calls before finding a new primary care physician who participated in the taxpayer-funded medical insurance program largely for those 65 and older

Seems docs are willing to take cash, but not Medicare, and sometimes not willing to take ANY insurance.

Phone call after phone call was met with apologetic office mangers saying that Dr. X wasn't taking any new Medicare patients or Dr. Y wasn't taking any type of insurance at all.

Some offices we know say it takes 3 - 4 months to get paid by Medicare. When they do get paid it is not enough to cover the actual cost of the visit. In other words, the docs lose money when they treat Medicare patients.

Health-care experts and advocates for the region's elderly say the problem is partly a reflection of how worried physicians are about changes in reimbursement rates from the federal government. Some physicians say they are afraid of accepting new Medicare patients and discovering later that the amount they receive for treating them will be decreased. Exacerbating those worries are concerns about the slow pace of reimbursement and the layers of paperwork it requires.

And this is a system that Washington wants to expand?

Seems the Emperor has no clothes.
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