An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said.
“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” he said.
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country — 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
In other states, Medicare pays doctors $76 for return-office visits. But in California, Medi-Cal’s reimbursement is $24, according to Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, a San Diego ear, nose and throat doctor.
In other states, doctors receive between $500 to $700 to perform a tonsillectomy. In California, they get $160, Mazer added.
Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That’s driven many doctors to just say no.
They’re also pointing out that Covered California’s website lists many doctors as participants when they aren’t.
Not to worry. The namesake of Obamacare will just issue a decree, an edict, a fiat, and all doctors will have to comply under penalty of a prostate exam from an IRS agent nicknamed Dr. Strangeglove.
You think Obama cares that he’s ruining a first world health care system? That’s not a bug of Obamacare, but its primary feature. Hear him talk about all the bells and whistles his new mandated plans have. Birth control and abortifacients, dental and podiatry—he tears apart the “Cadillac” plans to force these Edsel plans on a stunned populace. Wha’ happen, they cry. You’re welcome, the namesake beams in response.
If that doesn’t sound Soviet enough for you, how about this:
Mazer, a past president of the San Diego County Medical Society, agreed, saying, “I cannot find anybody in my specialty in the area that has signed a contract directly with any of these plans.
For its part, Covered California expects as many as 85 percent of the state’s doctors will join the new exchange.
“The Covered California board says we have plenty of doctors, and they allege they have 85 percent of doctors participating,” notes Mazer. “But they’ve shown no numbers.”
Mazer said that not only are many doctors not participating, but many are also thinking of retiring.
“I just turned 55, and a lot of us are kind of going, ‘Maybe there’s something else we can do in the last 10 years,’ because this is just getting too onerous to keep on going.”
If a large number of doctors either balk at participating in the exchange or retire, the state’s medical system could be overwhelmed.
No one is more aware of this than Alex Briscoe, health director for Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, which includes Oakland.
“Enrollment doesn’t mean access, because there aren’t enough doctors to take the low rates of Medicaid,” he said. “There aren’t enough primary care physicians, period.”
“Period.” That’s funny. Are you mocking the namesake of Obamacare?
In Soviet Russia, the old joke went: we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us. Welcome to the Soviet health care system in America.
Keep your doctor?
The California health exchange has admitted it has been divulging contact information for tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their permission or knowledge in an effort to hit deadlines for coverage.
Covered California said it was handing out consumer information as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by the new year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The consumers in question had gone online to research insurance options, but didn’t ask to be contacted.
Social Security numbers, income and other information were not provided to the agents, but names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were made available, exchange officials said.
Some insurance brokers and consumers were unhappy with the initiative, despite assurances that it met privacy laws.
“I’m shocked and dumbfounded,” said Sam Smith, an Encino insurance broker and president of the California Association of Health Underwriters, an industry group.
“These people would have a legitimate complaint,” said Smith, who added he had been given two consumer names.
A local agent emailed Robert Blatt on Thursday asking him about the application he’d started.
“You can’t do this,” Blatt, a technology consultant in Ventura County, told the newspaper. “For a government agency to release this information to an outside person is a major issue.”
You wanted a Big Government program without big government? How was that supposed to work?
Or, as Aggie says, elections have consequences.