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Doctors Spurning Medicare

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 31, 2013

There are lala-land expectations in Washington, especially among Progressives, that desiring a result can be legislated.  Such is the case with Obamacare.  Those that support this significant new government entitlement program often base it on the facts that people need medical service and many do not have insurance coverage.  While both are accurate, wishing for corrective action through complex, but poorly conceived legislation, merely makes matters worse.

Many government programs have proven counterproductive and ineffective.  An example is the Department of Energy started during Jimmy Carter’s administration for the purpose of lessening America’s dependence on imported oil.  When the DOE was started the United States imported a bit more than 30% of its oil.  That number has more than doubled under the watchful eyes of the DEO, but has not stopped the agency from growing and increasing its authority and spending.  Another example is Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs started in the mid-1960s.  Since then poverty rates have increased, but the programs remain and have been expanded.

Those who believe the outcome of Obamacare will be beneficial to Americans and their medical needs are but ostriches that stick their heads in the ground to avoid addressing danger.  The Wall Street Journal has reported a related issue, i.e. doctors opting out of the Medicare program in growing numbers.  According to the Journal, a growing Medicare problem includes:

  • Approximately 9,500 doctors who previously accepted Medicare have opted out of the program in 2012. This is an increase of approximately 6,000 since 2009.
  • The number of family doctors accepting new Medicare patients has decreased from 83% in 2010, to 81% in 2012.
  • While in 2010 3% of family physicians were cash only or concierge practices, it increased to 4% in 2012

Physicians are opting out the Medicare program because of economics.  The government has been reducing reimbursement amounts significantly with some being less than $60 for a 15 minute office visit.  Even those that continue seeing Medicare patients are forced to shorten the amount of time spent with each patient in an effort to maintain their income.  In addition, the amount of paperwork required for Medicare is burdensome.

While the number of doctors opting out of Medicare is only a small percentage of the total doctors participate in the program, the trend is alarming.  Add to this the new pressures put on the medical industry from Obamacare and the likelihood for shortages of doctors and poor service increases significantly.  When this train-wreck occurs it will be too late to unravel Obamacare.  Instead, look for the same government who created the mess to create even more legislation in attempts at corrective action.  And so the world turns.


One Response to “Doctors Spurning Medicare”

  1. Paula Bomboy said

    Since I went on Medicare in April, I have seen first hand, the problems associated with government sponsored medical care. The quality of my medical care has nosedived, to say nothing, of the paperwork and phone calls trying to sort out benefits (or lack of).

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