nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Medicare 21% Cut Becomes Effective Today

Congress, in its wisdom, adopted a plan in 1992 to make small annual cuts to Medicare reimbursement to doctors.  The problem is, they postpone the cuts every year, pushing the accumulated cuts off until the next year.  We're now up to 21%.  The AMA supported the Democrats health care plan, to their chagrin, with a promise from the President that there would be a fix to the situation.  That promise turned out to be empty, which I could have told them (actually I did:  I wrote to the AMA months ago and said they were naive, the politicians would renege, and they were being stupid.  No reply, of course).

As you may have heard, a couple of months ago one of the Mayo Clinics told their Medicare patients they could no longer accept Medicare: to continue to be seen they would need to pay cash.  The clinic said they lost $480M due to government under-reimbursement last year.  Note that the Mayo Clinics have been touted by the President as models of quality and efficiency.

I think Congress will pass something, but there's not much time left.  Doctors have to decide by March 17th whether they will participate this year in Medicare, or not.  In my state of Texas, the problem is already acute: only about 40% of physicians are accepting new Medicare patients.  I think that percent will drop, no matter what, because of this fur-ball, but it'll be disastrous if any cut goes into effect.

Maybe the Administration will start demonizing doctors like they have the medical insurance industry.

Doc D

Opinions are entirely my own

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