The Houston Chronicle has an article about an increasing number of Texas primary care doctors not accepting Medicare, largely because of uncertainty caused by the flawed physician payment formula which I’ve discussed here many times in the past. I’ve seen several conservative blogs which are twisting this to claim that the doctors are leaving because of cuts in Medicare brought about because of Obama’s health care plan. This is totally false. Here are the facts:
- The health care reform bill increases payment for primary care doctors, and does not cut Medicare payments as some conservatives are claiming
- The problem with the flawed payment formula goes back to 1997, well before the current health care reform
- The Democrats have been trying for several months, both as part of the health care reform legislation and in separate legislation, to fix this problem. They have proposed legislation that would both protect doctors from pay cuts and provide an increase in reimbursement.
- The Republicans have repeatedly blocked these attempts, including filibusters in recent months which have greatly increased the uncertainty discussed in the article.
Despite the right wing spin, if doctors do not accept Medicare it has nothing to do with “ObamaCare” and everything to do with Republicans screwing doctors and our patients.
Republicans filibuster fix in April
Harry Reid attacked by Republicans when he tried to fix the problem last fall
Republicans play politics, screwing doctors
Benefits of health care reform for primary care doctors. (Does anyone really believe that the AMA would have endorsed the plan if it cut physician pay rather than providing benefits for their members?)