Doctors refusing to treat Medicare patients
An alarming number of physicians are saying no to Medicare, according to a paper from the National Center for Public Policy Research. The paper cites surveys that indicate 17% of doctors nationally are refusing to treat new Medicare patients, and the trend is even worse among primary care physicians who typically are the elderly’s first line of defense against disease and infirmity.
What is causing the exodus? Medicare’s bureaucratic payment structure and low rates are blamed. A primary care physician in Austin, Tex., for example, can expect $19.78 for a 10-15 minute visit with a patient, and must pay overhead—rent, equipment and staff—from that sum.
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