No real Medicare solution in 2013 Fiscal Cliff deal

I was hoping, or to put it more accurately, dreaming, that the senate and the house will give sequestration and SGR a reasonable thought during the fiscal cliff discussions. Looking at the outcome I fear a gradual drop in the number of physicians dealing with the Medicare.

The fiscal cliff bill (HR 8) passed by the Senate delayed the Medicare payment cuts by one year. Current rates will continue until December 31, 2013, and at that time this patch will require more action.

Hospitals will pay for the delay

Besides not enacting a permanent fix, the other disturbing part is the cost of delaying is offset by requiring hospitals to fill the bill. Republicans did propose to pay for the bill through cuts to ACA and its beneficiaries, which the Obama administration overwhelmingly rejected.

Medicare cuts has no positive outcome

Hospitals will suffer because they will see reduced payments due to Medicare payment cuts and Disproportionate Share Hospitals plan. Physicians will suffer because they will either have to eat their losses or mitigate them by limiting their involvement in the Medicare program. Insurance companies will suffer because a reduction in Medicare physicians will affect their Advantage Plan’s provider network.

Doctors will leave Medicare

Many patients are questioning the old belief that doctors were supposed to join medical field to help people. Money should not be the primary factor. Some have gone so far as to say that professional honor is replaced by the goal of running a profitable venture, and I could not disagree more with this theory.

Doctors still join the medical field to help people, because many of these talented men and women could have gone onto other professions with more money, less hours and less hassle. But considering the large sum of medical school debt they accrue and the overhead of running their facility, the actual salary they are paid is like a rain drop in a desert.

Bottom line

Sequestration is a very serious problem which is not created by doctors in general. Instead of enforcing the existing laws, rules and regulations, the Government is further punishing care givers by adding more rules while leaving them hanging and guessing for the final outcome for another year. This will bring no positive change but force doctors to opt out of these programs.

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