Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.
Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.
“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn’t fix Medicare soon, there’ll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress’ promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”
More than 300 doctors have dropped the program in the last two years, including 50 in the first three months of 2010, according to data compiled by the Houston Chronicle. Texas Medical Association officials, who conducted the 2008 survey, said the numbers far exceeded their assumptions.
The largest number of doctors opting out comes from primary care, a field already short of practitioners nationally and especially in Texas. Psychiatrists also make up a large share of the pie, causing one Texas leader to say, “God forbid that a senior has dementia.”
The opt-outs follow years of declining Medicare reimbursement that culminated in a looming 21 percent cut in 2010. Congress has voted three times to postpone the cut, which was originally to take effect Jan. 1. It is now set to take effect June 1.
Meanwhile, it is just starting to dawn on the progressive socialists in power that America IS PISSED and we are about to show them just how much.
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are using the levers of government to speed up and promote what they consider the most popular aspects of the new health care law before a highly skeptical public passes judgment in November.
Top administration officials, who meet regularly with outside special interest groups to coordinate the public relations effort, have so far focused on expediting and amplifying four key areas of the new law: expanding coverage to young adults, covering sick people with pre-existing conditions or high medical costs, providing tax breaks to small businesses and helping a select group of seniors pay for prescription drugs.
In one case, the administration moved so quickly to provide coverage to young adults under their parents’ health plan that it cut short the conventional period for the public to weigh in on the new rule.
In another, it used taxpayer money to alert small businesses that they will get a break on this year’s taxes.
Both are perfectly legal but also politically beneficial.
In every case, the administration’s objective is unmistakable: Make sure as many Americans as possible know as quickly as possible about the health care changes they will find most attractive.
There are two big reasons Democrats feel the need to step it up.
First, polls that show the public still isn’t backing the legislation. Most show mixed feelings at best and often hostile attitudes toward the law. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll found that 44 percent think the health plan is a bad idea; 38 percent think it is a good idea.
Second, the heavy spending in anti-reform advertising: In the past month, anti-health-reform groups have poured $3.8 million into television advertising, nearly doubling the $2 million that has come from pro-reform forces, according to Evan Tracey, founder of TNS Media Intelligence.
The administration says there is no connection between its efforts and the looming 2010 congressional campaign. “Our mission as we work with the White House and other parts of the administration to implement this bill is to get Americans accurate, timely information about their health care and the benefits of the new Affordable Care Act so they are more empowered to get the best-quality care possible,” said Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for implementing much of the law.
Do a fly-by of Politico and read the rest.