by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:
Not too long ago my step-dad had to spend a few days in intensive care. Pretty scary stuff.
He had just about every nasty symptom imaginable, from constant vomiting to dizziness to ultra-high fever, but the doctors couldn’t figure out why.
Fortunately his condition improved enough that he was released from the hospital, and now he’s on the mend.
Now, my step-dad is a Medicare patient. But he just found out that he’s been unceremoniously dropped by his Primary Care doctor.
Apparently his physician dropped all of her Medicare patients in one giant culling.
It turns out that physicians across the country have been firing Medicare patients; and according to a late 2015 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 21% of physicians are not taking new Medicare patients.
Much of this trend is based on stiff penalties and financial disincentives from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and 2015’s Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization (MACRA) Act.
MACRA in particular is completely mystifying.
The law created a whopping 2,400 pages of regulations that Medicare physicians are expected to know and follow.
Many of the rules are debilitating.
For instance, MACRA changed how physicians can be reimbursed for their Medicare patients by establishing a bizarre set of standards to determine if a physician is providing “value”.
As an example, if a patient ends up in the emergency room, his or her physician can incur a steep penalty.
This explains why my step-dad was dropped by his doctor.
The healthcare system has been broken to the point that physicians now have a greater incentive to fire their Medicare patients than to treat them.
One Florida-based physician summed up the situation like this:
“I have decided to opt-out of Medicare, acknowledging that I can no longer play a game that is rigged against me; one that I can never win because of constantly changing rules, and one where the stakes include fines and even potential jail time.”
The irony is that all these new laws and regulations were designed to “save” Medicare.
As we’ve discussed many times before, both Medicare and Social Security are dramatically underfunded and rapidly running out of cash.
Medicare is the worst off between the two; MACRA and Obamacare were supposed to create hundreds of billions of dollars in cost savings.
It’s clear now that this cost savings comes at the expense of physicians… and the result is a rising trend in Medicare patients being dropped.
But even with the cost savings, the Congressional Budget Office projects that Medicare will become completely INSOLVENT by 2026.
As I write this letter, Congress is already taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Please follow SGT Report on Twitter & help share the message.