I blog about free markets in medical care and transparent pricing.
A view behind the curtain, a glimpse of why more and more physicians will stop dealing with Medicare and Medicaid is here. Look at the letters after the name of the presenter! Try to flog your way through all of the material in this email. Come on. Stay with it to the end! Now try to wrap you head around the fact that this is an overview. Big hospitals are relying on the complexity of this maze to force more and more doctors to surrender to the idea of becoming hospital employees, letting the “experts” deal with this kind of stuff. More physicians are simply walking away from Medicare and Medicaid, however, frustrating the master plan. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons deserves all of the credit for helping physicians navigate their way to independence from government medicine.
“I just want to pick up a check at the end of the month.” ”I don’t want to spend my time trying to keep up with this crap.” These are words coming out of physician’s mouths that make hospital administrators drool. You see, hospitals are paid more by government and third parties for physician services than physicians are paid for physician services! Hospitals then pay the doctor an amount less than he was accustomed to (if the doc is fed up enough or at the end of his career, he will surrender for a significant discount) and pocket the difference. The hospitals also develop mandatory “care pathways” that basically are designed to generate payment from third parties far above what would normally be the case, with every patient receiving a nutrition consultation and every patient tested by the laboratory unnecessarily, for instance. Several people in the health benefits payment business have confirmed for me that this is indeed what is happening.
Any patient reading this that is “covered” by Medicare should encourage your physician to walk away from Medicare, as this move is more to your advantage than his/her walking away from medicine altogether. Physicians joining the health cartel is in many ways worse for patients than physicians walking away from medicine altogether. The cartel doctor, under pressure from their hospital employer, will bill larger amounts for your care, but the care will increasingly be rendered by non-physicians, as the doctors sit in their offices, reduced to the role of clerks, signing off on the work of their “physician-extenders,” making their employers even richer.
That more physicians can wrap their minds around the idea of a medical practice without interference from Medicare or Medicaid and a medical practice that is independent of the hospital orcs is an exciting trend. Encourage your doctor to stay on the independent path and you, the patient, will be the primary beneficiary.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.