• Where Have All of the Doctors Gone?

    Now well into 2012, we are starting to see the vast changes in Medicare takingshape and it’s not pretty.  Expect the doctor shortage crisis that’s been picking up steam in America to come to a boil in a couple of years.

    Beginning in 2013, doctors and hospitals treating individual patients will be held accountable for “rehospitalizations” within 30 days and face penalties if they have high 30-day readmission rates. The reason behind this move is that readmissions are costly to Medicare and the public. Watch for even more doctors and health care facilities to turn away older patients out of fear their readmission rates will spike.

    Beginning this year, Medicare reimbursement rates will be cut yet again, further slashing into the income MDs make along with the incentive to take on older patients. Couple that with rising liability insurance premiums, office space rental fees and salaries for qualified office personnel. Note too that Medicare does not cover for state of the art medical equipment. Private insurance reimbursements aren’t enough to bridge the gab while more and moreof our population is aging.

    The Great MD Squeeze is fully underway.

    Rep. Paul Ryan put forward a bold plan to reform and save Medicare, but his plan was quickly swept under the carpet by Democrats who played the tired, but still effective, demagoguery card that Ryan is out to destroy Medicare. What a shame. By obstructing such reforms, Democrats are ironically ensuring Medicare’s destruction.

    CNN had a very concise collection of data pointing to the rising level of MD bankruptcies in America. These trends, along with the skyrocketing costs of attending an accredited medical school, certainly provide sufficient disincentives for individuals considering a career in medicine.

    When Obamacare was just a bill moving through Congress, many MDs and the AMA counted themselves as ardent supporters. They thought Obamacare would save their day. Like most Members of Congress, they probably didn’t read the bill. Expect more MDs to turn against Obamacare and embrace real reform proposals like Paul Ryan’s that support R&D, adequate compensation and privatization of Medicare for those under 55.

    If you’re elderly and have a primary physician, think twice about doing anything that will force you to find a new doctor. It’s getting very difficult to find one who’ll see you unless you can fork over high concierge fees.

    If Obamacare continues and is not declared unconstitutional, we will be asking “Where have all of the Doctors gone?”

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