This week we learned that our Government is going to conduct a stealth program to discover whether or not US physicians are accepting new Medicare and Medicaid patients. As Claude Rains said in Casablanca, I’m shocked, shocked that this is going on! Of course he was referring to gambling. Trust the Government not to gamble our money, just waste it studying the obvious, then lay the predicate for legislating physicians to accept these patients. I can think of many other ways to spend $350,000, but hey, it’s not the Bureaucrat’s money.
What we are experiencing in the Mr. Obama’s current healthcare scenario is the beginning of a multi-year, hugely expensive dance, that will ultimately create a two-tier system of healthcare and, without question, decrease the access to physician care for the majority of Americans; of course, that majority does not include the members of Congress who created this cluster…. ummm, bomb!
The newspapers are full of stories about physicians not accepting new Medicare and Medicaid (M/C squared) patients. The reason is simple- they can’t afford the charity at the expense of their business, their practice, their employees and all of their families. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. So as the population ages and the Baby Boomers flood the market along with the tens of millions of Medicaid patients that The President has added at your expense, who will be left to see these patients? No one; the Doctor will not be in! The solution- legislate him/her in. Well now, how’s that going to work for you? In Massachusetts, physicians are forced to accept all types of Medicare patients as a condition of their licensure. Surprised? The model in The Bay State is the harbinger of what is to come on a national level. Long waits, physicians leaving the State, huge increase in premiums and the list goes on and on and on. Bottom line- No one’s getting fat ‘cept Mama Cass! There is decreased access to primary care at a higher cost. Now what? Physicians will ultimately break up into 2 groups- those that accept no insurance, but will see their required quota of Medicare/Medicaid patients in the same way that airlines allocate seats for accumulated miles. Good luck getting an appointment with these physicians because they will likely be the doctors in higher demand. Those that remain will accept what will eventually become single payer insurance. The result – you will definitely have access to primary care, but you will have to wait. You may then get to see what is referred to as a physician extender, better known as a Physician’s Assistant, or a Nurse Practitioner. The doctor may do a two-minute drive-by, but will likely allocate only 150 words to you because he has to see a ridiculous number of patients to be able to pay his bills. Be careful what you ask for! So on this July 4th, celebrate your last few months of healthcare independence, because after this year, Let the Games begin!