Senate Health Care Bill: Let’s Shut Even More People Out of the System

by Crocker on December 3, 2009, 2:04 pm

in Health Care,Politics

Leave it to the economic illiterates of the left to expand what’s not working already. Which is why I hope someone drives a stake through the heart of “health care reform” currently before the Congress.

Let’s think this one through, shall we? Currently, Medicaid reimbursement levels are so low that many doctors and hospitals are refusing Medicaid patients and there’s an increasing doctor shortage for Medicaid work. So, having completely skewed the economics of medical practice, the geniuses in the Senate want to enlarge the programs that are already collapsing the current system.

Consider this collection of news items and think about the stupid mendacity motivating Congressional leftists:

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD): “First Of All, You Need To Be Able To Have A Doctor. So We’re For Universal Access, And This Is Why The Underlying Bill Is So Important.” (Sen. Mikulski, Floor Remarks, 12/3/09)

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “…When Medicaid Patients Seek Care, They Often Find Themselves Locked Out Of The Medical System. In a 2006 report from the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, nearly half of all doctors polled said they had stopped accepting or limited the number of new Medicaid patients. That’s because many Medicaid programs, straining under surging costs, are balancing their budgets by freezing or reducing payments to doctors. That in turn is driving many doctors, particularly specialists, out of the program. The dwindling number of doctors who accept Medicaid is a large, little-discussed hurdle to some ambitious efforts to broaden health-care coverage.” (“Note To Medicaid Patients: The Doctor Won’t See You,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/19/07)

* * *

“The Renowned Mayo Clinic Is No Longer Accepting Some Medicare And Medicaid Patients, raising new questions about whether it is too selective to serve as a model for health-care reform.” (“Mayo Clinic Faulted For Limiting Medicare Patients,” The Washington Post, 10/13/09)

ARIZONA: “Low Reimbursements Have Led One West Valley Primary-Care Medical Facility To Stop Taking Certain Medicare Patients, a pilot program that an Arizona health-care expert says may become a trend across the industry. … The Mayo Clinic announced in October that its Arrowhead Family Medicine practice will stop taking Medicare payments for primary-care services. The policy begins Jan. 1, affecting about 3,000 seniors. Five doctors practice at the clinic.” (“W. Valley Doctor Group Opting Out Of Medicare,” The Arizona Republic, 11/20/09)

MINNESOTA: “News Reports Thursday Said The Clinic In Rochester, Minn., No Longer Would Accept Medicaid Patients From Nebraska Or Montana Beginning Jan. 1 Because Of Low Payment Rates And A Heavy Administrative Burden. Plutowski said Friday the clinic wasn’t singling out Nebraska’s Medicaid payments but rather reducing its overall Medicaid burden.” (“Nebraska Medicaid On Outs; Mayo Clinic To Stop Taking Nebraska, Montana Patients Because Of Low Rates,” Lincoln Journal Star [Nebraska], 10/12/09)

OREGON: “John is a sawmill worker from Yamhill County, Ore., where I grew up. He was a foreman at a mill, he felt strong and healthy, and he had very basic insurance coverage through his job. On April 18, he was married, at age 23, and life was looking up. Ten days after the wedding, he was walking in his backyard carrying a neighbor’s dog — and he suddenly blacked out. That led, after rounds of CAT scans, M.R.I.’s and other tests, to the discovery that The Left Parietal Lobe Of His Brain Has A Cavernous Hemangioma. That’s An Abnormal Growth Of Blood Vessels, And In John’s Case It Is Chronically Leaking Blood Into His Brain. … In August, He Qualified For An Oregon Medicaid Program, But He Hasn’t Been Able To Find A Doctor Who Will Accept Him As A Patient For Surgery, Apparently Because The Reimbursements Are So Low. Doctors tell him that his condition is operable — but that they can’t accept him without conventional insurance. He is increasingly frustrated as he watches his family crushed by the burden of his illness.” (Nick Kristof, “Are We Going To Let John Die?” The New York Times, 11/28/09)

TEXAS: “As The State Seeks Ways To Trim Medicaid, An Increasing Number Of Doctors Frustrated With Reimbursements Are Opting Not To See New Medicaid Patients. As A Result, Medicaid Patients Often Grow Sicker While Hunting For A Doctor.” (“Medicaid Patients Have Trouble Finding Doctors In Dallas Area,” Dallas Morning News, 6/3/09)

•    “In That Study, 1,162 Medical Offices Were Surveyed Between September 2008 And March. Dallas Had A Medicaid Acceptance Rate Of 38.6 Percent, Compared With The National Average Of 55 Percent.” (“Medicaid Patients Have Trouble Finding Doctors In Dallas Area,” Dallas Morning News, 6/3/09)

MICHIGAN: “In Michigan, The Number Of Doctors Who Will See Medicaid Patients Has Fallen From 88% In 1999 To 64% In 2005. Many of those doctors tightly cap how many they’ll see or refuse to take on new Medicaid patients.” (“Note To Medicaid Patients: The Doctor Won’t See You,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/19/07)

CALIFORNIA: “About 51% Of Family Physicians In California Participate In Medicaid. For A Number Of Specialties, Such As Orthopedic Surgery, The Percentage Is Much Lower, According To The California Healthcare Foundation.” (“Note To Medicaid Patients: The Doctor Won’t See You,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/19/07)

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