Monday, July 20, 2009

But The Tip Of The Iceberg

Have any of you ever wanted to change doctors after you've turned 65 and are on Medicare? It's no easy task. If they take Medicare patients at all, they take limited numbers. Why?

Medicare reimburses them very little and wants to cut even more. This is also the reason Family Practice physicians are in short supply and dwindling. They can't afford to be in practice. This is an ill wind for seniors. If the government increases it's role in determining how much should be paid out for treating an ailment, it is of concern. I do not, under any circumstance, want Congress involved in this. Insurance companies are bad enough since they've forgotten what insurance is supposed to be other than profit centers for their own gain.

Have you noticed that there has been no mention of offering the same health care packages available to government employees in the current discussions? It was a big part of Obama's campaign rhetoric. One way to level the playing field might be to drop government plans for themselves and make it mandatory they participate in those available to us. Then there may be hope.

As an example of how bad it is for the doctors I am going share with you an example. I had a cyst removed from my finger a month or so ago. For the initial exam/consultation and office x-ray the doctor billed $331.00. What was not approved by Medicare is the issue. $260.89. Approved was $70.11 of which Medicare paid $56.09. The remaining $14.02 would have been on me had I not had a supplemental that picked it up. The doctor had to absorb the rest.

This is not financial incentive for the doctor, now, is it!

The total for the complete procedure including the anesthesia was around $4000. For one little cyst. You can imagine, without my spelling it out, the hair cut the doctor will take on that!

That health care reform is sorely needed is not the argument. That government should be involved as an incentive for action seems to be needed. My nagging fear is the rush to legislate without adequate input from all aspects of the medical community. Not Congress and not insurers, but medical professionals who understand disease, injury and treatment.

I don't believe it can be done by August, 2009. If it is, the excess senior population will be remedied. We will be expendable.


Linda said...

Much of your post sounds like the conversation I had with our family practice physician.

Representative Roy Blunt (R MO) said on TV the other day that he would support a plan like government employees have today. Apparently they have some choices under that plan. I think that should be looked into.

I do not believe the fear email whirling through computers that says President Obama and Congress have said they will not be a part of the new system.

Whatever they do I want people to be automatically enrolled, otherwise we will have a mess on our hands. Some people are so used to using emergency rooms as clinics that they will not understand they have to enroll, or some just flat won't put forth the energy to learn what they need to do.

I'm not the alarmist you seem to be in your last paragraph. I would like to see a bill on the President's desk by the end of the year. The best way to kill health care reform is to talk it to death and continue to delay it. If not August, then by the end of the year. Journalist Bill Kristol is thrilled with this delay. He's announced this to be the time to kill Health Care Reform. I say, not so fast Bill.

Dogwalkmusings said...

The end of the year is a far cry from August 1st.

Betty said...

And yet, the AMA has endorsed the House healthcare bill. There must be something they like about it. I wonder if we'll like it, too.

Dogwalkmusings said...

The AMA likes it but the doctors don't. Go figure.

Word Tosser said...

I can understand his frustration and wanting one by August. After all they have been talking about it for over 30 years.. With Kennedy's in the 80's and Hillary in the 90's. And the AMA has been involved for years... knocking every corner. There is so much abuse on both sides..Drs as well as the patients. Those of us in the middle are the ones who lose.

Also information I just found out. A friend did a I-town meeting with Sen. Crapo over the weekend, and someone asked about their insurance. The surprise was that the Senators have to pay for their insurance. I thought it was part of their bennie package. I don't know the answers, but I like to see insurance that is not the same price as your mortgage payment.