29 June 2011

More Docs Reject Privately Insured Patients!

A study expecting to find even fewer doctors willing to accept new Medicare patients found, sure enough, a modest drop in that percentage. But the shocker was a far steeper decline for doctors willing to accept privately insured patients.
The study shows 93.3 percent of doctors accepting insurance for payment in 2005, and 87.8 accepting insurance in 2008.

The drop for those accepting Medicare coverage during the same time was 95.5 percent down to 92.9 percent. Not the huge difference the right-wing media has been harping about - and they seem to have missed completely the fact that some doctors turn away patients wanting to pay with private insurance.

I first heard of this a few years ago with a doctor in Fort Collins, Colo., who wouldn't accept private insurance. He said he did so so he could practice medicine instead of argue with bureaucrats whose primary concern was profit, not patients. The insurance companies also didn't pay him enough - and he's a family doctor, not a country-club suburban specialist.

Dr. Tara Bishop's study was in the 27 June 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine. She's assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and practices at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Bishop is concerned that the growing numbers of physicians saying no thanks to insurance companies could bollocks up President Obama's reform - which depends on everyone buying private health insurance from this deadly industry.

It's one more reason to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone.

There are economic sectors where the free market delivers most effectively, no doubt. Manufacturing computers and running casinos come to mind. Other tasks - like covering the cost of health care, fighting fires, policing our communities, educating all the children - societies that tax themselves to provide those services for all come out ahead.

Pretty simple. You want the Pakistan model or Paris?

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