Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are Docs Going to Abandon Medicare?

Are Georgia doctor's leaving Medicare? Quite a few will not accept ANY Medicare Advantage patients while others will only participate in one or maybe two plans. If you have original Medicare + Medigap your odds of having a doctor treat you improve dramatically.

As in years past, Congress is slow of foot to do anything about permanently fixing Medicare and will most likely follow the same path as before and patch the reimbursement system with what is referred to as the "doc fix".
Unless lawmakers act before the end of the year, doctor reimbursements are scheduled to be reduced even as providers complain current reimbursement rates don't cover the cost of care.

The result: Many doctors are declining to take on new Medicare patients and many are thinking about disenrolling in the system, reports the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which has historically opposed Medicare.

The pay cut, unless Congress overrides it, will be roughly 30%.
"Disenrollment is a way to evict occupiers from doctors' offices and the patient-physician relationship," suggests Dr. Jane M. Orient, the association's executive director. "Occupiers include bureaucrats, bounty-hunting auditors, federal prosecutors waiting for doctors to trip up on complex rules -- and AMA [American Medical Association] officials and committees who make up complicated codes and dictate the 'relative value' of all covered services."
Seems "occupiers" is the latest buzz word for vultures.

I like it.
since 1996, the system has been larded with new requirements that have increased bureaucratic hassles and imposed greater costs on providers for everything from enrolling in the system to billing procedures, the association said. Those doctors who wish not to participate in the program need to opt out every two years.
More government interference in the private sector. Another jobs killer except in this case it is a health care killer.
"Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has no express authority to compel physicians to enroll in a government program in order to serve their patients, or to regulate the practice of medicine," she said in an article published in the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
There's that pesky Constitution getting in the way again.
"Formally opting out of Medicare has grown in popularity. But a tantalizing alternative approach is emerging: disenrolling from Medicare altogether," Schlafly wrote. "We are unaware of a court case establishing or forbidding this option. Government may prefer not to test its authority over disenrolled physicians rather than risk a new precedent against its power.
"A consequence of the 'Obamacare' litigation may be to resolve this issue too. If 'Obamacare' is invalidated for going beyond the constitutional authority of the federal government, then that precedent may also limit federal authority over private contracts with disenrolled physicians."

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm . . .

Georgia Medicare supplement plans currently include most Georgia doctors and hospitals.
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