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Socialized Medicine: How would you argue against? (vanity)

Posted on 11/02/2008 1:15:52 PM PST by RangerM

We all know the potential horrors if Socialized Medicine were ever made a reality in this country, but to someone who only sees the good, and none of the bad, it is difficult for them to see the truth.

In my discussion with a liberal friend I was having difficulty describing a parallel. We all can provide stories of long wait times, and lack of care experienced in other countries, but the answer always seems to be, "America will do it better". My point is that when a person has no responsibility to bear the costs of healthcare, he will not consider costs when pursuing healthcare, and the system will ultimately either fail economically or be forced to resort to rationing.

I was trying to think of a parallel that a person could see every day, and not simply disregard.

The only thing I could think of would be the Food Stamp program. Specifically, I was trying to remember if I have EVER seen a person using Food Stamps (or the debit card that some use) AND using a coupon or other similar discount. I DO remember seeing someone using one of those store discount cards, but those don't require any real effort.

I see this as a parallel in that the person who could benefit most from using coupons fails to make an effort to do so, but I don't want to misrepresent based on my own observation.

Does the group have any insights?


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: communism; gulag; medicine; michaelmoore; nhs; sicko; socialized; universalhealthcare
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1 posted on 11/02/2008 1:15:52 PM PST by RangerM
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To: RangerM

Tell your friend to look at what the government has done to social security.


2 posted on 11/02/2008 1:18:27 PM PST by Unkosified (What do Osama and Obama have in common? They both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.)
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To: RangerM

America will do it better? We don’t have socialized medicine, yet back in February when my mom had to go to the ER she had to wait about 15 hours for a doctor to see her, and even then they would not admit her into the hospital. 5 months later, she passed away due to complications from surgery and her kidneys completely failing thanks to Celebrex.


3 posted on 11/02/2008 1:18:46 PM PST by psjones (u)
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To: RangerM

Dick Morris has a good argument for this. Tell them that Obama plans to cover millions of illegals and there won’t be enough doctors in the system to handle the influx thus affecting senior citizens who visit their doctors on a regular basis. There will be longer waiting times.


4 posted on 11/02/2008 1:18:48 PM PST by jersey117
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To: RangerM

Signing up for a doctor’s appointment with the same person who issues your license plates is a really goofy idea. Rationing isn’t always fun either.


5 posted on 11/02/2008 1:19:10 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (I'm voting for McCain/Palin so I can look my grandchildren in the eyes when I tell them I'm sorry.)
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To: RangerM

How bad is the DMV or the post office in your area?

“Do you want the same people who manage the (DMV/post office/Hurricane Katrina recovery/etc) running your health care?”


6 posted on 11/02/2008 1:19:20 PM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: RangerM
Check out info on the state of Hawaii's Keki Care (socialized medicine for all children under 18). It's been an utter failure because everybody took their kids off their private insurance and joined the public insurance. It lasted less than a year before it went bankrupt.

Ask him how well 'public schools' run in comparison to private schools. In general public schools are a mess and costing more money for very little positive results.

7 posted on 11/02/2008 1:20:44 PM PST by Wonderama Mama (Socialism is great until you run out of someone elses money - Margaret Thatcher)
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To: RangerM

I explain socialized medicine as necessarily requiring rationing.

Reducing the price will increase the demand for services-simple economics.

Since there are only so many health care personnel hours available, rationing becomes necessary.

It exacerbates the situation even further if the British system is used which makes doctors employees of the state working on salary. Doctors work long hours, in part due to the fact they get paid pretty well for doing so. Working in a government bureaucracy would makes it less likely they would want to or even be allowed to considering government rules.


8 posted on 11/02/2008 1:23:07 PM PST by I_Like_Spam
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To: RangerM

The US government takes in $130 in taxes for every $100 it gives back in services. With that kind of efficiency there is simply no way it will be anything but more expensive to get them involved.


9 posted on 11/02/2008 1:23:10 PM PST by tcostell (MOLON LABE - http://freenj.blogspot.com - RadioFree NJ)
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To: psjones

I feel for your loss. I hope your family was able to find some solace by drawing closer together.

Is your mother’s ailment a common occurence with celebrex?


10 posted on 11/02/2008 1:23:16 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM
Aside from the fact the Federal Government is as poorly run, compared to some of the best run companies. The only thing it has ever excelled at, is our great military and that's because our Men and Women know why they wear the uniform and who and what they protect. There mission is clear to them.

As for health-care, one thing is for certain, if the access to quality health-care was never at issue, more people would develop an entrepreneurial spirit. When you have a family, and do not have health-care, its frightening. Stepping out into the world of owning your business seems far more perilous without health-care. Something needs to be done to address it.

11 posted on 11/02/2008 1:23:58 PM PST by Heff (Half this country is that stupid.)
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To: RangerM

This will give you a good start:

http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2007/08/03/actor-ronald-reagan-speaks-out-against-socialized-medicine/


12 posted on 11/02/2008 1:24:03 PM PST by perfect_rovian_storm (You MUST see this website: http://www.neverfindout.org/)
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To: RangerM

ask very politely the following questions:

In a socialized medicine, where does innovation come from? Where will we turn to for new treatments, radical new surgeries, and research in the pharmaceutical industries? Are you willing to give up being the (a) leader in medical research?


13 posted on 11/02/2008 1:24:07 PM PST by pghkevin (Have you hugged your kids today? Have you thanked someone in the Military today?)
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To: RangerM

Arguing against a lib on this, a few points using terms they would understand..

First, socialized healthcare would be a monopoly. We know that monopolies result in lower quality, higher prices, and poor treatment of employees. If arguing with a lib, say it is WalMart healthcare, if there where no competition with WalMart.

Second, this would allow the government to have access to all of your health data and share it with government agencies, your privacy from the government is out the window. If the government, for example, wanted to isolate out everyone with the flu, they can find you and take you away.

Third, who do you complain to if you aren’t happy with the service, payments, or want a second opinion? Giving the government all that power, there is no checks and balances, they are the say all end all. If they decide one week that coffee is bad for you, they can ban it and stop giving you medical coverage if you don’t give it up.

Fourth, the ‘pie’ is being divided up more and more, how much more can the government pie be divided up before we only get the crumbs?


14 posted on 11/02/2008 1:24:21 PM PST by mnehring (We Are Joe!)
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To: RangerM

My 2c because I’m originally from Vancouver, canada..it doesn’t work and will never work.
First, it’s NOT FREE. The Cdn taxpayers pay a monthly premium (in BC it’s $56 for a single person) and u get what u pay for. It’s not automatic that u see a doctor, and get surgery. That monthly premium is just a permission slip to see the doctor and the wait for any “specialist” goes for months.
If u DONT pay your monthly premium, the govt will send collections after u, ding your credit report and call the cops..even if u DONT want the option of paying that monthly payment. How’s that for freedom?
There are many accounts that I personally know of patients dying due to the long waits but the Cdn press subdues it because they dont want the population to know that the system has been broke for the past 40 years.
2nd: because the system is heavily unionized, the money goes not into the system but into union coffers: nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists UNIONS who go on strike like clockwork if they don;t get what they want. The result is 3rd world medical eqpmnt and lazy doctors/nurses who go on 4 month paid vacations at taxpayers expense.
There’s more but Im too lazy to type...


15 posted on 11/02/2008 1:26:02 PM PST by max americana
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To: mvpel

I understand where you are coming from on that, but many people don’t go to the DMV very often, so I’m not sure that would have the same impact.

My reasoning for the Food Stamp example is that almost everyone goes to the grocery store at least once, if not multiple times per week.

It would seem (to me) there is more opportunity to see it there, but I’m not sure if the comparison is the best.


16 posted on 11/02/2008 1:26:33 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM

Everyone thinks of what they will “gain”. But when anything is centrally planned, there MUST be a way to enforce the plan, OR cental planning is utterly useless.

This is why socialism soon needs secret police,,like in the early models (Nazi, Communist, etc,,)
And why there must be extensive surveillance and crusing of dissent in modern “soft” socialist countries, like England. People there are prosecuted for letters to the editor. They are prosecuted for not following the rules of NHS medicine.

Central planning = Central control,,, no dissent tolerated.


17 posted on 11/02/2008 1:28:13 PM PST by DesertRhino (Dogs earn the title of "man's best friend", Muslims hate dogs,,add that up.)
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To: RangerM

I have 4 ideas that may fix the healthcare issue, but keep capitalism philosophy. None have socialist philosophy whatsoever...well one kinda, itty bitty does, but not really at all. Some can be done through state levels and some through fed/state.

NONE have ever been mentioned on the national stage that I know of...

but none are pure-freebies per se...they are all incentivized ideas, or charity ideals


18 posted on 11/02/2008 1:29:05 PM PST by KeatsforFirstDog
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To: RangerM

There is a limited amount of money to spend on health care.

In a free-market system, the individual can decide for himself how much he wants to pay and can structure his insurance however he wants to to minimize his risk. Rationing decisions will be made by the individual.

In a socialized system, the state decides how much to spend on each individual for health care. The individual has no control over how his coverage is structured, and rationing decisions will be made by the state.

Now, these rationing decisions are often matters of life and death. It may sound attractive, at first glance, to have to state pay for expensive life extending care, so the individual does not have to pay the bill. But, ultimately, the state will further the state interest, not the individual’s interest. So when it comes time to pay for that expensive and life extending treatment, if the individual is unlikely to be a net asset to society, or is likely to become a future burden, the state will act rationally and deny the care.

Nothing personal. Just business.

The other problem with any socialized system that ever existed or ever will exist is that it quickly devolves into a two-tier system, with politically connected insiders getting adequate care, and the mass of unconnected plebians getting substandard care. There is absolutely no reason to think that would be different in our system.

So, the individual has to ask himself, is he going to be one of the lucky few who benefits from adequate state-run care, or is he going to be one of the masses, who is shuffled into dirty state-run hospitals only to be denied the care he needs?


19 posted on 11/02/2008 1:30:24 PM PST by gridlock (18 Million Democrats voted for Hillary in the primaries. Are they all racists?)
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To: RangerM
my question is why in the debate about health care the answer on the left given always is to solve the problem by government adding money? Its the same solution they come up for everything! Instead why not debate the issue on whether or not its ethical for doctors and pharmaceutical companies to form a monopolies and basically raise the prices of health care out of the range of the consumer? Why not enforce creative RICO laws or something, to LOWER the costs so people can afford the basics, instead of just paying the over inflated prices. Instead, the left wants the government to pay whatever the asking price will be at any costs , health costs will just sky rocket , there are no limets in place and as long as this continues the health care industry knows that they will be able to collect unlimited money for basic things like an asprin handed out in a drs office.
20 posted on 11/02/2008 1:30:55 PM PST by seastay
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To: RangerM

If you like what the Democrats (Dodd, Frank, the CRA, etc.) have done for the mortgage industry then you’ll just love what they do with the healthcare industry!


21 posted on 11/02/2008 1:30:57 PM PST by Cementjungle
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To: RangerM

We have socialized medicine in America now with Medicare, Medicaid, VA hospitals, military hospitals, etc.

When I was born, my dad was in the military, but my mom refused to allow me to be delivered in a military hospital. My dad died because of the SUB-STANDARD care he received from the Veterans Administration.

That is how socialized medicine works in the US.


22 posted on 11/02/2008 1:31:24 PM PST by FFranco
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To: Cementjungle

I certainly like your comparison, but of course a lib would only see the dems as being prevented (by the Republicans) from invoking the right policies.

The insanity runs deep, when you see the dems through rose-colored glasses.


23 posted on 11/02/2008 1:34:08 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM
Jonathan Edwards advocated mandatory Metnal Health screening as well. It will be easier to force people to be drugged for their views.

The soviet healthcare system is a shining example. People dying while on waiting lists of curable and preventable ailments, dissidents considered mentally ill and incarcerated, they ARE doing this in Europe BTW.

Take a look at this and this

24 posted on 11/02/2008 1:35:47 PM PST by mainestategop (MAINE: The way communism should be)
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To: mnehrling

The problem (as I see it) with your argument is that it makes sense.

What I mean is that I’m trying to come up with a comparison that is undeniable, even when someone refuses to believe.

The Walmart comparison goes that direction, and I’ll think along that line.

I’m really trying to come up with something that could best be described as an “Identity Politics” argument.


25 posted on 11/02/2008 1:38:58 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: RangerM
Socialized Medicine: How would you argue against?

The DMV.

27 posted on 11/02/2008 1:41:57 PM PST by Onelifetogive (Is it too early to open a female wing on Mt. Rushmore?)
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To: RangerM

I believe there is a role for government in the health care system. I’m interested in creative ideas and not the tired old ‘government sucks’ with no ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a ‘takeover’, but I see areas where the government can take over routine, low cost procedures.

A friend told me government healthcare would be horrible...it would take 6 months wait for X procedure. I told him its going to take me 6 months wait to save in order to do X procedure so what is the difference?

Please no flames. If you have an idea, I’m all ears.


28 posted on 11/02/2008 1:42:49 PM PST by Doug TX
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To: RangerM

How about..
“..go ahead and socialize healthcare, just imagine when neocons win the election and have all that power over your health..”


29 posted on 11/02/2008 1:45:00 PM PST by mnehring (We Are Joe!)
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To: RangerM

One word: CANADA!

Even the man who created the system there admits that it is an abject FAILURE.


30 posted on 11/02/2008 1:45:18 PM PST by Dick Bachert
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To: RangerM
This is a tough one.

We already have a form of socialized medicine for certain groups: Veterans' hospitals, Medicare, Medicaid, and state. Medicare is lousy. They pay my caregivers less than 60% or more of what that actual charges are, and I have a supplement, am looking for a better one even if it costs me more because I don't think it is right shafting my providers plus it may disincentivize them to accept me as a patient. My options are limited already.

One argument I have used was pointing out how it works in Canada, telling my own story of my experience in England and what I've read about Canadians who can afford it crossing the border to obtain urgent health care at their own expense because the wait lines are so long. Some Canadians seem to like it.

Like England, the wealthy won't wait in line; they will have a private physician and pay their own money to avoid wait lines and better options obtaining the best care.

People will flock to emergency rooms with the sniffles worse than now. They won't know until they actually talk to you and/or get a diagnosis, taking time away from more critical patients.

You won't be able to sue your doctors for malpractice. I've never done it, but would like to have that option.

We will have to accept all foreign patients, whether visitors , legal immigrants waiting for citizenship or illegals and pay their total expenses like England, even if they have the ability to pay.

It will cost more to somebody, the taxpayer, may give the illusion of being free but the taxpayers will have to foot the total bill. Once the government gets their hand in anything, it only gets worse.

It will mean making the government larger because more people will be brought on board to manage it.

All the above is assuming you bypass the insurance companies and go government-managed, total UHC, and we're not there yet, but with the economy on the downturn, either McCain's plan or Obama's plan will have an adverse impact on the insurance companies.

It will require one more ID card which will be compulsory, no telling whether a chip (storage of all your records) will be involved, no telling about privacy issues. Those are already looming as a potential threat.

They will make it so complicated (read the new 127-page 2009 Medicare manual), few people will be able to understand it and believe that it is a good idea.

31 posted on 11/02/2008 1:45:59 PM PST by Aliska
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To: gridlock

The way I see it, your argument is most effective to a person who has experienced the horrors first-hand, but to someone who only thinks of the good, without considering the negative, your argument would result in the “glazed eyes” response.

Not that you are wrong. It’s just that I’d think the typical (lib) “soundbite” response would be the most effective to a lib.


32 posted on 11/02/2008 1:48:48 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: mnehrling

Good Point.


33 posted on 11/02/2008 1:49:17 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: Unkosified

I’ve reminded people that if socialized medicine was so great, why are our Northern hospitals filled with Canadians paying cash?
Or people in UK dying before getting treatment?


34 posted on 11/02/2008 1:49:23 PM PST by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" - on amazon.com)
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To: RangerM
I just thought of that angle.. I will have to find a way to use it, the liberals always use fear tactics like that, time to turn it on them..

Go ahead, set up a system where the government has power over over all of your life, even your health care.. then, when you all have the perfect system in place, the neocons can take over and they will control every aspect of your life... go ahead.. give them that power.. let the Bush's and Cheney's run your health care..

35 posted on 11/02/2008 1:51:45 PM PST by mnehring (We Are Joe!)
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To: RangerM

Americans can’t repeal the laws of economics.

The most relevant examples for what American health care would become under a single-payer plan are Canada’s and the UK’s health care systems both of which are nightmarishly dysfunctional and dangerous at this point in time.

The fallacy of of arguments for socialized medicine reside around an exclusive emphasis on incentives for consumers of health care and a complete avoidance of the effects of socialized medicine on incentives for providers of health care. When huge disincentives are erected in the name universal access to health care for consumers, producers do what they always do when the government begins to tax something heavily: they leave.

In 1948, after the UK started up the National health Service (NHS) within a few years a large number of Doctors in their 50s retired from practice. The prospect of a lot more work for less pay was not appealing. Those Doctors who had sufficient financial resources simply quit practicing. On the demand side, once going to the Doctor became a cost free transaction for the patient. UK facilities were inundated with hypchondriacs looking to treat phantom maladies. Demand goes up, supply decreases so prices go up. The NHS reacted to this through an at first implicit and the explicit care rationing scheme. This pattern has continued through to this day. It has become so severe that UK NHS officials are now seriously looking at privatization schemes to address the crisis.

The pattern in Canada followed the UK pattern almost exactly but just a little bit later. It also worth noting that both the UK and Canadian systems are about a least 20 years behind the US in terms of treatment modalities, both drug and and non-drug treatments. It is also worth noting that most notable medical device and drug research happens in the US and not in Canada and the UK. The incentives to innovate have been destroyed in these two countries.

People will not continue to work and to innovate under the threat of a gun. We don’t need or want care rationing schemes here in the US. The forgotten health care producer has to be remembered in any health care reform discussion.

There are far better ways to address health care access problems than to impose a single-payer program. Fewer health care producers, less health care. This elemental economic truth can’t seem to penetrate the obtuseness of liberals on this issue.


36 posted on 11/02/2008 1:54:35 PM PST by ggekko60506
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: tbw2

The problem is that the person (a lib) has to see it. Given that we are in the age of “Sicko”, there is little evidence (the type that is spoon-fed on TV) to support your (well documented) scenario.

There lies the problem. A person will only acknowledge what they see, and even then they may deny it.


38 posted on 11/02/2008 1:55:38 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM

The arguement isn’t about socialized anything. Once conservatives understand that the arguement is forcing others to pay for something for other people we will win the arguement.

Whatever the topic is only diverts us from the true issue. And this is done for exactly that reason.

Who can argue against feeding the hungry?

Who can argue against forcing others to give you their earnings to serve their own goals? This is robbery, extortion or whatever term you use it is evil.


39 posted on 11/02/2008 1:59:45 PM PST by stockpirate (Who wins and who loses decides the fate of our republic, slavery or freedom.)
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To: RangerM

The back door to destroying our present system is removal of the pre-existing condition limitation. I’ve heard some commercials here in Carolina from the Obama campaign pushing this line of argument.

How will it destroy the private insurance business?

An analogy that everyone will understand. You choose not to pay auto insurance. You have an accident with your car and it is totaled. The insurance company is forced to insure you regardless of the pre-existing condition of your car. You pay 1 premium payment, they pay to get you a new car. Why ever pay another premium? They go out of business.


40 posted on 11/02/2008 2:00:24 PM PST by steveyp
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To: mnehrling

One thing is for sure, tying their hatred of Bush/Cheney to socialized medicine would certainly be persuasive.


41 posted on 11/02/2008 2:02:15 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: ggekko60506

Great post. Thanks for that.


42 posted on 11/02/2008 2:04:00 PM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: RangerM
.. tell them, why do you think so many neocons like Colon Powell or Scott McLelland are in Obama's camp now- they want a liberal to enact all this power so they can secretly take over and control everything.. they can't get Republicans to do this, so they have to try with the Democrats... It may freak them out... build up a big conspiracy..
43 posted on 11/02/2008 2:04:51 PM PST by mnehring (We Are Joe!)
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To: RangerM

bookmarking


44 posted on 11/02/2008 2:05:16 PM PST by SpookBrat
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To: stockpirate

It’s funny.

The person I’m referring to lives in a house much larger than mine, makes more money than I do (I think), and seems to think it’s ok to tax people more.

I just usually say he’s a lib, because he can afford to be.


45 posted on 11/02/2008 2:05:23 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM
Looming Medicare Pay Cut Weighs Heavily on Physicians Practices Forced to Make Tough Decisions

By Sheri Porter 3/12/2008

Physician practices across the country are beginning to limit the care they provide for Medicare patients as Medicare physician payments fail to keep pace with the cost of providing health care to seniors. That's according to a study of more than 1,000 physician practices conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, or MGMA.

In a March 6 press release, MGMA said that nearly 24 percent of medical practices that responded to the survey said they had begun limiting or not accepting new Medicare patients as a result of the "financial uncertainty" created by temporary adjustments to Medicare physician payments and a pending 10.6 percent cut scheduled to take effect July 1.

About 46 percent of respondents said that they would have to stop accepting new Medicare patients or limit the number of Medicare patients their practices treat because of the expected payment reduction this summer.

MGMA members participating in the survey reported that they would "suffer further operational damage" as a result of expected double-digit reductions to Medicare physician payments. In addition, more than 50 percent of respondents were considering reducing administrative and clinical staff, nearly 70 percent were postponing purchasing decisions on new clinical equipment and facilities, and about 67 percent were delaying or foregoing investing in health information technology.

MGMA President and CEO William Jessee, M.D., reacted to the survey results by lambasting Congress for its failure to act. In an interview with AAFP News Now, he said, "The inability of Congress to solve the Medicare physician payment problem has reached a level of absurdity. How can physicians be expected to care for a growing number of Medicare patients and invest in e-prescribing and electronic health records when there is absolutely no predictability to their revenues?"

Jessee said that physicians who responded to the MGMA survey were doing what any rational small business would do: "They're restricting the number of Medicare patients they treat, deferring or avoiding investments in new technology, and reducing staff.

"This situation is a very sad commentary on Medicare," said Jessee, adding that the program "is rapidly failing to deliver on its promise of access to health care for America's seniors."

FPs Make Medicare Provider Status Changes

Physicians have options when it comes to Medicare. They can participate fully, become nonparticipating Medicare physicians, or opt out entirely. In these difficult times, family physicians are having to make tough choices in an effort to preserve their practices.

James Molloy, M.D., of Sheridan, Ore., told AAFP News Now that his practice opted out of Medicare in 2008 and instead is offering Medicare patients a 40 percent cash discount on practice fees under individual contracts.

"We made a decision based on what we had to do to make this practice survive," said Molloy.

He said Medicare patients constitute about 12 percent of his patient panel, and that 30 percent to 40 percent of those had signed the private contracts. More than half of his Medicare patients have left the practice, but finding physicians who take new Medicare patients could be a challenge for those patients.

Prior to opting out of Medicare, Molloy said he routinely turned away Medicare patients so desperate to find a physician that they offered to pay for charges out-of-pocket. Medicare, however, prohibits its participating physicians from collecting full charges directly from Medicare patients for otherwise covered services.

Molloy was steadfast and resolute in his Medicare decision. "I refuse to participate in a system that I consider to be a very broken system." He added that he was prepared to "opt out for the long haul" until the Medicare payment system is permanently fixed.

FP Steven Blair, M.D., of Yuba City, Calif., said his small group practice became a nonparticipating Medicare provider as of Jan. 1, 2008. The high cost of living and providing care in northern California already were making managing a practice difficult even before the proposed cuts, he noted. But Blair and his partners got angry enough to take action when the government strung physicians along late in December with the six-month 0.5 percent increase.

Much of the progress made in increasing Medicare physician payment during the past decade would be wiped out by a 10.6 percent reduction, said Blair. "The whole episode left a very sour taste in my mouth. A lot of physicians felt like they were left out to dry."

As a nonparticipating Medicare physician, Blair still sees his Medicare patients, but he can bill them about 9 percent more than what Medicare pays participating providers. The extra cost, which is borne by the patient, would offset most of the anticipated Medicare payment cut in July, said Blair. As much as 10 percent of Blair's Medicare patients have left the practice, however.

Uncertainty Leads to Frustration

"The most frustrating part for family physicians is this uncertainty of not knowing whether we'll have to deal with a 10 percent pay cut," said AAFP President Jim King, M.D., of Selmer, Tenn. "We already have a slim profit margin -- if any at all -- for taking care of our Medicare patients."

King said the Academy has received calls from family physicians seeking advice about their Medicare options.

"It's very frustrating because we like taking care of our senior citizens, and we want to continue to take care of our seniors -- but from a financial standpoint, some family physicians just may not be able to do so any longer if this payment mess with Medicare continues," said King. "The Academy is willing to work with the administration, Congress and CMS to find solutions," he added.

For John Saranko, M.D., of Plant City, Fla., the bottom line is whether or not his practice can afford to continue treating Medicare patients.

Late in December, with the government mired in indecision, Saranko and his partners voted not to accept any new Medicare patients in 2008. They also agreed that if the Medicare pay cut became a reality in July, the practice would opt out of Medicare in 2009.

Medicare patients make up about 57 percent of Saranko's patient panel, he said, and many of those patients are the kinds of old friends that come after 28 years in practice. He agonizes over dropping those patients, but if payments are slashed, Saranko said, he'll have no choice. "It's a business, and if I can't pay the bills, I can't survive," he explained.

Saranko said he's certain his practice would thrive without Medicare; he's consistently turned away younger patients in order to keep treating his Medicare population. "If I stop seeing Medicare patients, within three months, I'd be back up to where I am right now and maybe making more money," he said. That's because he likely could increase his daily patient load with a schedule full of younger patients presenting with simple, easily treated complaints. Older patients suffering from multiple chronic diseases just take more time, said Saranko.

46 posted on 11/02/2008 2:12:34 PM PST by spectre (Spectre's wife...))
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To: steveyp

I’ll remember that one, thanks.


47 posted on 11/02/2008 2:13:29 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: steveyp

Greetings from Raleigh NC, BTW.


48 posted on 11/02/2008 2:14:33 PM PST by RangerM (Barack Obama: CHANCE.....We Can't Afford To Take!)
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To: RangerM

I’m from over there - all my relatives buy their own insurance. WHy would they do that if National Health was so great?


49 posted on 11/02/2008 2:15:19 PM PST by bronxville
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To: RangerM

I understand what you are saying about the “My Eyes Glaze Over” (MEGO) response.

How about I simplify it.

When I am old, and have saved enough money in my life to be able to enjoy my life, I will spend what it takes to buy insurance that will pay for the necessary life saving care I might need to extend my life. I do this because it is my decision to spend my money on what is important to me, which is my own health and life.

My life and health will be worth very little to the state, because I hope to be retired. I am not going to be paying a lot of taxes or doing any great productive things for society. I want to spend my days quietly on my hobbies, living simply and enjoying myself. In fact, with the estate taxes that will no doubt be coming back, I will be worth a lot more, to the state, dead than alive.

Unfortunately, if the state is making decisions on whether or not I get life-saving treatment, they will be able to make sure I die early, and thus save expenses associated with my dotage, save what ever entitlement payments they might have had to make, and get their hands on half of my estate.

If I am running a bank, I don’t hire a thief to guard it, because the thief will quickly figure out that it is more profitable for him to rob the bank than it is for him to guard it for the salary I am paying him. Similarly if I am an individual, with money in the bank. I don’t hire the government to make my medical decisions, because they will quickly figure out that it is much more cost-effective for them to let me die than it is for them to preserve my life in order to recover whatever I might pay in taxes.


50 posted on 11/02/2008 2:16:40 PM PST by gridlock (18 Million Democrats voted for Hillary in the primaries. Are they all racists?)
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