Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 21, 2010

Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-21

I can't figure out if Elena Kagan looks more like Kevin James or Nathan Lane. It's really been bothering me. #

Blinding glimpse of the obvious: cartoons push bad food. I thought that was why parents were in charge of buying it. http://bit.ly/ax0uTJ #

Obama has started a fatherhood initiative…and he wants 500 mil to fund it. Because we've solved every other problem. http://bit.ly/d3DKg9 #

Just a the baby-boomers start to retire, doctors limiting new Medicare patients reaches a record level. http://usat.me?38949216 #

Just finished the single-player missions for #RDR What a depressing ending. #

The market speaks: doctors increasingly turning down new Medicare patients

USA Today brings us a story that should surprise no one. Medicare, the supposed model of a government run health care system, is finding that fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take on new patients under that system. They cite the low payments Medicare offers (or perhaps forces) for patient treatment. Baby boomers just now entering the system are going to find their choice of a doctor restricted.

The numbers break down like this:

• The American Academy of Family Physicians says 13% of respondents didn’t participate in Medicare last year, up from 8% in 2008 and 6% in 2004.

• The American Osteopathic Association says 15% of its members don’t participate in Medicare and 19% don’t accept new Medicare patients. If the cut is not reversed, it says, the numbers will double.

• The American Medical Association says 17% of more than 9,000 doctors surveyed restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practice. Among primary care physicians, the rate is 31%.

Note especially that final group. Primary care physicians are the group of physicians that the newly passed health care reform law depends on to implement its “preventive care” regime.

The reason is rather simple and straight forward – Medicare offers 78% of what private insurance pays in compensation for a doctor’s services. Why doctors are leaving or restricting new Medicare patients is rather easy to understand as well:

“Physicians are saying, ‘I can’t afford to keep losing money,’ ” says Lori Heim, president of the family doctors’ group.

Consequently they cut or drastically restrict the source of the loss. While most doctors are not going to turn away existing Medicare patients, they may not accept new ones and finally, through attrition, close their practice to Medicare patients.

It isn’t rocket science – no good businessman is going to continue to do things in which the net result is a loss of money. And a doctor’s private practice is a business – one which employs a number of people. He or she, like any business person running a small business, cannot afford the losses. So they identify the problem and eliminate it.

As this continues it will put them in a direct confrontation with the federal government. It is anyone’s guess, given the current administration’s choices for wielding power, how that will turn out. But what this rejection of the compensation offered by government is doing is bringing to the fore is one of the underlying conflicts of the new health care law – the premise of the law is that government can control costs (and payments) and thereby make medical care less costly. The doctors are saying, go for it, but I’m not playing.

At some point, government is going to have too address those who make that declaration. We’ll then see how free of a country we really are, won’t we?

~McQ

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Even Al Qaeda knows Obama’s star is falling

Interesting that after the news breaks than the withdrawal timeframe for Afghanistan is "firm", al Qaeda pokes its head out of the cave and pretends like it winning this 9 year confrontation by dictating terms of "peace".

Al Qaeda’s American-born spokesman has repeated the terror group’s conditions for peace with America in a video released Sunday.

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.

Many would argue the “conditions” Gadahn sets are, in fact, the Obama agenda. He’s just been unable to execute it to his or their satisfaction yet. The announcement of this past week about the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan being firm, however, certainly fits those parameters.

Another interesting point from Gadahn’s 24 minute video:

In white robes and turban, Gadahn told Mr. Obama: “You’re no longer the popular man you once were, a year ago or so.”

When al Qaeda is aware of that, perhaps the spinmeisters here ought to get a clue and quit spinning so hard. The cold wave of reality has indeed washed over their puny efforts to say it ain’t so.

~McQ

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