I'm beginning to think we elderly are going to be unwittingly endangering our own longevity without being pushed by the government. Though inadvertently they will be responsible with Medicare functioning ( I use that term reluctantly) the way it is.
There is a guest opinion in this morning's Spokesman Review by Dr. Donald F. Condon telling why has is opting out of Medicare. It's nothing we don't already know. The reimbursement schedule is forcing Doctor's out of the program.
That isn't the only problem Doctors face, either. Among those Dr. Condon innumerated are the professional disagreements Doctors have with what some obscure committee deems appropriate as far as what's to be covered. The patient loses because Medicare wins.
Late payment of claims is another problem that parallels the problems car dealers are currently having with the Cash for Clunkers program. This puts the car dealers in the same boat as Doctors. This puts everyone in the Doctor's chain in peril from office staff, mortgage on his practice, even into his personal financial well being. Who can blame them for wanting to opt out? Who can blame the car dealers for hanging on to the Clunkers until they get paid? They at least can sell off the Clunkers; Doctors have no such option. Government efficiency is an oxymoron.
Here's the way the old Dogwalker sees it. Right now it's difficult to find a Doctor that will accept a new patient who is on Medicare. When you do find one, you're treated in assembly line fashion. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've tried to discuss more than one issue and have been told there is no time. It matters not that no one was in the waiting room when I arrived nor when I left. Fifteen minutes. That's it. There is no thorough discussion of a condition what-so-ever.
It's usually pop a pill and see you in a week or ten days. If you're persistent enough they may refer you to a specialist who really doesn't want to see you either. I've run the course with the back Doctor. I've had two shots, neither of which did anything, and now we're experimenting with medications that are to change how the brain perceives pain. To no avail. Up the dose. To no avail. Instead of seeing him in ten days now it's call him. I'm sure I've run through the allowable office visits for which Medicare will pay.
I have no idea what all this experimentation is doing to my liver and kidneys. Actually I don't want to know. But here's the point.
Doctors who are now merely reluctant to accept you will begin to opt out. What then? Where do you go for your prescriptions? The emergency room? We'll begin not to take them because we won't put up with the waits. Our cholesterol will soar along with our blood pressure not only from not taking our meds but also because of the added stress. Don't even think of the things that will go undiagnosed thus untreated.
The "death panels" will have no one to counsel because we'll not be patients. What's more, we'll all be dead! Well, that's one way to bring the costs down. All we have to do is go belly up! I wonder if it's what they've had in mind all along!