Friday, January 8, 2010

Who's Rationing Now, Mayo Clinic?

That and other alarming positioning in the "pro-corporate profits" publication. Like the fact that health care is not a right, implied by support for the Mayo clinic's decision to drop Medicare at one of its facilities. Come on, there's more money to be made from treating the wealthy. Let's continue to ration by class! You can't always assume one's position by their use of terms - the left is as angry these days about the lack of reform in the health care bill as the right - but the WSJ using the derogatory "ObamaCare" in a piece of reporting?

It looks to me as though this may not be a bad development if played right by the administration - not saying I think they're capable of taking any political advantage from opportunities handed to them on a platter.

The medical industry's attempts to undermine the benefits of Medicare won't be popular with the more than 44 million who get their health care through the program, including the 850,000 in Arizona who will not have to switch hospitals and travel greater distances for necessary care. I'm hoping Mayo's denial of Medicare patients will cause increased support for the program - and greater advocacy for more like it, programs that tackle the profit-driven delivery of health care in this country.

There's more money to be made from private plans, claims Mayo. Here's a clip:

Mayo is probably a leading indicator of where other hospitals and doctors are headed. Physicians on average earn 20% to 30% less from Medicare than they do from private patients, and many are dropping out of the program. While about 92% of family physicians participate in Medicare, only about 73% of those are now accepting new patients. In some specialties—neurology, oncology, gynecology—in places like Manhattan and Washington, patients can struggle to find any doctor who'll accept Medicare.

The $500 billion in Medicare cuts planned as part of ObamaCare won't help this trend. The hospital industry agreed earlier this year to chip in $100 billion over the next decade in lower annual payment increases for Medicare. The chief Medicare actuary estimates that up to 20% of hospitals could become unprofitable as a result of the scheme.

The irony is that the Obama Administration has repeatedly praised Mayo as an example of the efficiency and lower cost that will spread everywhere if ObamaCare passes. And it's true that Mayo is a sterling example of the kind of health reform that many economists—notably White House budget chief Peter Orszag—extol.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home