Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Medicare Cuts Repubs Against Until Obama Became President. Why?

Tags: Medicare Cuts, Repubs Refuse to Prevent, Primary Care Doctors Opting Out, Will Lose 40% Income


Bush Vetoes Bill Stopping Doctor’s Medicare Cuts, Huffington Post, Kevin Freking, July 15, 2008

When Bush vetoed the bill stopping Medicare Cuts in 2008, a two-thirds vote was necessary to override the veto. The override vote in the House was a lopsided 383-41 and in the Senate, the override vote was 70-26.

Why are Senate Republicans now filibustering every consequential bill passed in the House, even with high House Republican support? To stop Obama and consequently endanger the lives of senior Americans. First only 2 percent of doctors are going into primary care and of the primary care doctors now available, and secondly 39% refuse to take Medicare patients. The number can go much higher. What happens when your doctor retires?

Jim Kawakami, June 22, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

WASHINGTON — Congress on Tuesday rejected President Bush's veto of legislation protecting doctors from a 10.6 percent cut in their reimbursement rates when treating Medicare patients.

The override vote in the House was a lopsided 383-41, easily meeting the two-thirds threshold needed to nullify the president's veto. About an hour later, the Senate voted to override, 70-26.

Bush has vetoed bills nine times, and Congress has had the muscle to override him only on a water projects bill and twice on farm legislation.

Lawmakers were under pressure from doctors and the elderly patients they serve to void the rate cut, which kicked in on July 1. The cut is based on a formula that establishes lower reimbursement rates when Medicare spending levels exceed established targets. …

Primary Care Doctors Hurt Most from Medicare Cuts Mayo Clinic Refusing to Take Medicare Patients http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/03/primary-care-disproportionally-hurt-medicare-cuts.html Doctors don’t garner much sympathy when they rail against the perpetual threat of Medicare reimbursement cuts.

In a story from CNNMoney.com, a primary care physician provides some stark reality.

In an independent solo primary care practice, employing an office staff and two nurse practitioners for instance, fixed costs add up to $60,000 per month. A 21% cut in Medicare reimbursement, assuming an average sized Medicare panel, can take away $3 out of every $5 a physician earns.

Compound that with the pressure for doctors to adopt expensive electronic medical records, along with rising malpractice insurance rates, and it’s easy to see why generalist doctors get disproportionally hurt by any decrease in Medicare payments.

Furthermore, private insurers often base their rate schedule on Medicare’s, so it’s likely their payments will correspondingly go down as well.

Two points become apparent from this situation. One, it’s another disincentive for any newly graduated doctor to pursue such a financially risky field like primary care; and, two, it’s apparent that the days of the solo practitioner are numbered.

Primary care practices will have to function as loss leaders, surviving only after by being bought by hospitals or larger physician organizations.

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