Saturday, July 16, 2011

Who needs death panels? We already have medicare

Next month I will get my first social security check. At my age, my doctors’ visits are now regularly scheduled events (annual check up, dermatologist, allergist, and periodontist). Since I will be leaving Blue Cross Blue Shield and will be under Medicare I asked each if they would still keep me as a patient. They all said yes. I was relieved but something occurred to me. Under my present health care plan, the provider seldom pays 100 percent of the bill – even with the co-pay. I always get a bill for what was not covered. Since the Federal government’s solution to the costs of medicare is to pay the doctors an ever decreasing percentage of the bills, the talking heads say that the doctors are getting squeezed and will start accepting fewer and fewer medicare patients if they accept them at all. This makes no sense to me. It simply means that instead of getting a bill from my doctor for $50, it will be for a larger amount. Currently if I did not pay my doctors, they would drop me even though I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. So why would they drop me if I have medicare if I continue to pay the amount not covered by the government? In essence, medicare is being means tested as well as rationed. It is rationed because as most of us already know, medicare has a higher denial rate than any private insurer. It also covers fewer prescription drugs. So I don’t understand no one has ever pointed this out. There is no need for “death panels” in medicare because it is already being rationed. Thus, there should be no need for death panels either in Obamacare for the same reason.

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