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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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doctors Opting Out Of Medicare. Some Data

Progressive bloggers have been saying that doctors won't leave Medicare.  Here's some data in one state.

Reassurance that HCR won't adversely affect people's health care plan or doctor have been sounding hollow for some time, but that doesn't keep some activists from insisting that "all is well."

This is from the Houston Chronicle, Aug 19:
"Forty-four Texas doctors opted out of Medicare in the second quarter of this year, continuing the state's erosion of government-funded health care for seniors.  The opt-outs bring the 2010 half-year total to 94 and keep the state on a pace to lose an all-time high number of Medicare-accepting doctors in a single year, no small feat considering the recent trajectory."
And here's the graph.  Note that the 2010 figure is only the first half of the year.

Trivial numbers until the mid-2000's.  The increase started back in '07 as the projected cuts to Medicare reimbursement loomed larger and larger (21% this year), but Congress was unable to do more than brinksmanship to forestall the disaster.  In 2009, the numbers were still high but not accelerating.  However, as you can see from the first half of 2010, the annual total may reach a new high.

I don't think the situation is strikingly different in several other states.  With Congress out of money, and planning to take $500 billion out of Medicare to spend on the new entitlements under HCR, it's unlikely that a breakthrough in falling payment rates will get a permanent fix. 

So, if you're a senior--or will become one soon--reconsider buying that Medicare supplement.  And if you're a member of AARP, who makes most of their money through selling insurance supplements to seniors, you now know why they supported Obamacare.

Doc D

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