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Healthcare Reform - Will it affect Medicare patients?

Updated on January 7, 2011

One True (short) Story…

I received a phone call from mom this afternoon. This is a woman who is very laid back and generally accepts life on life’s terms. UNTIL…you make you her angry. Well mom was angry this afternoon and, to keep it short and simple, here is the telephone conversation that set her off…

Mom: “I received a referral from Dr. Primary-Care, I would like to schedule an appointment.”

Dr. Specialist’s-Office: “What type of insurance do you carry?”

Mom: “Medicare, with United Healthcare as my supplemental insurance.”

Dr. Specialist’s-Office: “I’m sorry Ma’m, we no longer accept Medicare patients.”

Mom: “That’s fine, I will pay for the exam myself.”

Dr. Specialist’s-Office: “I’m sorry Ma’m but that is against the law.”

Mom: “To use my own money to pay for my medical care?”

Dr. Specialist’s-Office: “It is illegal to take a cash payment from a patient who is covered by Medicare and insurance.”

Needless to say, I decided to do a little research of my own. I was very negligent of the “Medicare” aspects of the Healthcare Reform Act, and truth be told, I am still a bit fuzzy on the whole issue.

I am fully aware that I do not have all of the facts yet, this was made clear to me by the barrage of attacks that the previous title of this hub commanded.  So for those of you who believe that this hub is intended to be malicious, hang in there...I'm still doing my research.  I simply do not feel comfortable removing the hub in its entirety.

I have taken the liberty of listing, below, a few blurbs on this matter, from various publications throughout the country. Directly below each comment is the link to the article in its entirety.

Nearly 20 percent of Connecticut doctors plan to stop taking new Medicare/Tricare patients if Congress fails to postpone deep cuts in reimbursements scheduled to take effect this week, a survey shows.

The Connecticut State Medical Society on Monday released the findings from an online survey of 360 Connecticut physicians on the scheduled 23 percent cut in Medicare/Tricare physician payments that goes into effect Wednesday

A recent poll conducted by the American Osteopathic Association found only about 40 percent of physicians say they will be able to continue seeing their current Medicare patients if the cuts occur. Medicare payments barely cover their costs now, and many foresee losing money on every patient they treat.

American Medical Association
AMA: Physicians Outraged at Today's Steep Medicare Cut

  • At this point unless this 21 percent reduction in fee is repealed I will have to abandon seeing Medicare patients. I will have to do this with a heavy heart as I will not be able to maintain my practice at these rates. - Psychiatrist, Washington, D.C.

  • The sad truth is that we will no longer be able to see Medicare patients who come to establish care with our group. We won’t fire our existing patients I hope. The alternative is to close the doors. - Primary Care, Duluth, Minn.

  • “We are now forced to cease seeing new Medicare patients and may have to opt out altogether. This will be a devastating turn of events for us and our community.” - Urologist, Chatanooga, Tenn.
  • “I plan to retire as soon as possible if the Medicare cuts go through. Most of my patients will be unable to find another competent psychiatrist who takes Medicare. I am the only one of my colleagues who takes Medicare now.” - Psychiatrist, New York and Pennsylvania

  • These cuts are forcing me to limit the number of Medicare patients I will see. - Ob-Gyn, Baton Rouge, La.

  • One thing is for sure. My office will attempt to minimize our exposure to the now-politicized Medicare program. Starting now, we will limit the number of new Medicare patients to 3 per week per provider (down from about 7), and limit surgeries to emergent cases on our existing Medicare patients.” - Urology, Cadillac, Mich.


In anticipation of the physicians’ cuts, many doctors have been considering not accepting Medicare patients.


Physicians Limiting New Medicare Patients Over Low Payment Concerns

More physicians are refusing new Medicare patients than ever before because of low reimbursements from the federal government, according to recent surveys from national and state medical societies, USA Today reports.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The exodus of doctors from Medicare and likely from private practice altogether is accelerating.

In Texas, only 38 percent of primary-care doctors will take new Medicare patients. The Mayo Clinic is opting out of Medicare in several locations because the low payment rates don't allow the organization to provide the quality care its culture demands.

A recent poll conducted by the American Osteopathic Association found only about 40 percent of physicians say they will be able to continue seeing their current Medicare patients if the cuts occur. Medicare payments barely cover their costs now, and many foresee losing money on every patient they treat.


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    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      I am not on hubpages, as many hubbers are, to make money...I'd be living in a cardboard box if that were the case.

      I pulled the plug on that forum (which was nowhere near my first post to the forums.) It was a misjudgment on my part to ever post that forum.

      The new cartoon reflects the skepticism that I am still feeling about the whole situation.

      Yes, everyone did come back at me and say "YOU'RE WRONG," but nobody is giving me any "This is how it really is" factual data (discrediting the Medicare articles I found above.)

      The only "useful" posting I received relating to this direct matter, was when someone made it clear to me that something I posted in my forum referred to Medicare Advantage. I can listen to and believe facts.

      How many people actually learn by just being told, time and time again, you're wrong?

    • Doug Hughes profile image

      Doug Hughes 

      8 years ago from Tampa

      You still got it wrong - you posted a cartoon about Health Care Reform to head a hub that discusses problems with Medicare that have NOTHING to do with the Health Care Law!

      We pretty much drew a blueprint of what was wrong with the OP when you did the same thing on the forum. The post got the plug pulled - which takes some doing. No small feat on your first post to the forums.

      So you changed the title - congratulations - but you still link (by implication) the Medicare incident with Health Care Reform. Some folks learn slow.

    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thank you Pandora...always nice to hear from you. However, I will not remove the hub. I will simply re-title soon as I've read up on all of the additional (helpful)information I've received on the matter.

      Jillian thank you. I plan on reading the article you mentioned by the end of the day.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      As in the forum you posted, the cut in Medicare payments has nothing to do with Obama Care- It is directly related to a law passed in 1997 (Obama was not the President then).

      The cuts in Mcare payments in Obama Care have to do with payments to private health insurance companies that provide Medicare Advantage Plans. Instead of paying a bonus to these companies, the bonuses would stop. They will still receive payment for medical care...

    • Pandoras Box profile image

      Pandoras Box 

      8 years ago from A Seemingly Chaotic World

      Hub is still here despite everything. That is very telling. The truth of the matter means nothing to you.

      I wish we could flag hubs for being full of it.

    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      You might want to contact my mom, she would probably be your best sales rep.!

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      I am going to start selling "Anybody but the 'Bomster in 2012" bumper stickers but I guess I can't spend the money I make a t the doctor's office!!

    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      You're welcome, and thanks for taking the time to read this.

      I guess it's time for everyone to take their head out of the sand and see what's really going on!

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      8 years ago from trailer in the country

      thanks for the information...things are really getting strange.

    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Go get 'em Mom!

    • profile image

      JoAnn Marshall 

      8 years ago

      I am the Mom. I am 67 years old and have never been more insulted in my life. When you need an appointment and are told no because you have medicare and supplemental insurance it is insane. But add insult to injury by telling me my cash is illegal.

      This country is going down the tubes big time. All the fat politicians sit there with the best medical care available and think nothing of screwing we the tax payer. This is the final straw with me. I think every jerk in Washington should be given a pink slip. Let them see how it is to live on the other side.


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