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January 01, 2010

Previewing ObamaCare; Mayo Clinic Stops Accepting Medicare Patients

Mayo says the U.S. government does not pay enough to cover the cost of care.

More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Obama in June cited the nonprofit Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a telephone interview yesterday.

“Many physicians have said, ‘I simply cannot afford to keep taking care of Medicare patients,’” said Heim, a family doctor who practices in Laurinburg, North Carolina. “If you truly know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it.”

Bloomberg couldn't get the White House to comment, but some utopianist from a "health policy" think tank says that the complaint that patients cannot pay is "overstated." He then says the decision to forgo Medicare patients is all about money. He apparently didn't connect those particular dots.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:16 AM

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