Congress Delays Medicare Pay Cut

April 12, 2010

Hurray! Congress has voted to schedule a vote later this week to delay the 20% fee cut til May 1. They are also drafting legislation to ‘fix” this annual problem of reversing Medicare fee cuts, by freezing the fees for five years. Great idea, guys! Keep up the good work! I am seriously considering dropping Medicare, or, charging a mandatory $40 refraction fee for every visit. Otherwise, I really don’t see how my practice can be profitable with these fees.




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4 Responses to “Congress Delays Medicare Pay Cut”

  • Dr. Ari Weitzner

    why in the world would i resent my patients for the sins of the insurance companies? i love my patients, and they appreciate very much the wonderful care i provide and feel badly how poorly the insurance companies treat me. and i dont demonize myself- i am simply repeating what i often hear on the radio, tv and what i read in newspapers. what a strange thing to say.

    doctors will leave medicare in droves as these fee cuts continue. you think it’s some kind of weird accident that private doctors don’t take medicaid? medicaid patients typically have to go to busy clinics, where they wait for hours and get a brief exam. thats where medicare is headed.

  • Luci

    Let me be clear you and I agree on one thing there are few solutions to these problems. I was an R.N. for twenty years and worked with many indigent patients likely forced into clinical trials which can be risky and frought with other problems.

    Secondly, I do not demonize doctors, or lawyers as you suggest. You are highly skilled professionals. My internist has seen me through incredible illness at a early age and I personally would do anything to make him happy but he does not ask me to.

    I do not object to your opinion but rather to solicit it on this type of blog seems inappropriate particularly as it relates to soliciting personal political views and financial reimbursement. I am so sorry you feel “squeezed” I only know my own doctors (and there are many) appear fully engaged in my care and usually do not even want to discuss financial issues.I feel fortunate beyond measure for my doctor’s and would personally reimburse them any amount of money that I can reasonably pay. This is because they are highly educated people who are passionate about what they do. They are actually alive with what medicine brings them.
    For too many years doctors (I worked with them) would keep patients hospitalized for excessive period and their tests and spending went unreigned. There is no proof that this defensive medicine has done them or their patient’s any real good. In fact, the opposite may be true concerning radiation exposure. When my doctor does not want to do an expensive test we discuss it and recently elimated an expensive MRI in this way. I think more doctors should try to discuss what may be unnecessary and why . Once I understood his viewpoint there was no point in doing the test.
    Yes, patients have responsibilities also. For example, bringing a list of questions to your doctor. Being willing to really listen to their viewpoint. To choose another provider if you are consistently unhappy. Trying to embrace the suggestions of your physicians as much as one can.
    I have thus far found only one doctor unwilling to see a Medicare patient. I am grateful for the clarity.

    No one has deamonized you doctor but yourself. If you feel so “squeezed” you must really resent your patient’s. Beleive me many of them will pick up on it. I feel sad for you resenting a system that is so rapidly changing and for which we all struggle with finding our way.


  • ari

    1. obamacare does nothing to rein in healthcare costs. only last week, the actuaries in the medicare program confirmed it. so, although it’s wonderful that 30 million more americans will get healthcare, the cost of healthcare, and the premiums we pay, and the taxes will pay, wil continue to rise terribly. in massachusets, similar to obamacare, premiums are out-of-control, and they are seriously considering imposing price controls to stop them from raising premiums. that’s pretty idiotic, as those insurers are non-profits! you think non-profits are raising premiums to make more money??

    2. if you were poor and on medicaid, your choice of doctors is pretty limited. most have to go to clinics. why? medicaid pays doctors so poorly, they can’t afford to see the medicaid patients. it’s that simple. so, you don’t feel threatened now- great! but if medicare cuts keep on continuing, and more doctors drop out of medicare, and you find yourself going to a clinic or a doctor who is rushing through ten patients an hour, you can then decide if maybe it’s not a good idea to keep squeezing doctors. and as the population ages, your ability to see a doctor will get harder and harder.

    everybody likes to demonize lawyers, doctors, plumbers for making too much money. but when your boiler is broken and the plumber comes right away and fixes it, or you’re arrested and the lawyer gets you out, or you’re blind and the surgeon makes you see, then people are overwhelmed with gratitude and acknowledge that they are worth every penny. that’s human nature. everybody should keep that in mind.

    here’s another fun fact- only about 10-15% of healthcare dollars goes to doctors’ pockets. most don’t know this inconvenient fact. the other 85-90% goes to hospitals, medicine, administration, medical devices, legal. so, it’s politically easy to demonize doctors and go after doctors and cut their fees, but if one were really interested in reining in the growth of healthcare, doctors’ fees are the last place to go. and this explains why after years of cutting doctors’ fees, healthcare costs keep going up! it’s because they are attacking the wrong and smallest part of the problem.

    your objections to how much money doctors make begs the whole question of price controls. lawyers and plumbers also make too much money, no? so let’s force them to accept what we decide to pay them, and that way, they will be more affordable! but that doesn’t work, of course. we know that from price controls in this country that failed, and in communist countries. we really have no right to tell anybody how much they can charge, and even if we could, it doesn’t work. the quality and quantity just goes down, and everybody is worse off. let’s stop pretending we can force doctors to be paid less and less, and that in the long run, it will be better for everybody. it’s a fantasy. it’s magical thinking.

    i am not sure how to fix the healthcare problem in this country, but i have some ideas. what i know for sure is that squeezing doctors is plain dumb and has no track record of success. zero.

  • Luci

    Sorry DR. Weitzer,
    I don’t feel sorry for you. Subspecialities are far more lucrative than what GP and internists make. Do you really feel your patients are going to sympathize with you based on your economic situation when so many of them suffer

    from severe problems? As you know health and wealth are so often related.
    We applaud the Obama administration for the betterment of healthcare which may cost all of us (myself included sacrafice).

    If you don’t want to take Medicare patient’s that seems to be your choice. We do not feel threatened.