A Portent of the Effects of Obamacare

In health care on March 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Cartoon by Eric Allie

If this commenter via The Hill is who he says he is, we’re in trouble.

With the Axis of Evil (Chairman Obamao, General Pelosi, and Dingy Harry), we might as well change the colors of our flag to Red and Yellow or our National Anthem to “Oh, Canada!”. I am a Cardiologist and have no intention of accepting Medicaid patients- sorry to say, but it is just not worth the hassle to get reimbursed WAY below my cost and then have a clientele that is more apt to sue physicians be part of my group’s practice. So who really cares if 30 million more are insured? Many of these patients will still not be able to access good medical care because they will still have either Medicaid or something equivalent. And who read the latest from the New England Journal of Medicine about the potential exodus of physicians from the practice of Medicine? I won;t leave the practice, but my practice will also strongly consider turning away Medicare patients as well.

Further, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that a high number of family practitioners plan to defect pending the passage of this health care legislation:

Via Ed Morrissey.

And you thought wait times were long now.  The New England Journal of Medicine, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, polled health-care providers to determine their reaction to ObamaCare, and discovered that it has many doctors looking for the exits.  Almost half of all general-practice doctors would feel compelled to leave medicine altogether if it passes:

  • 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.
  • 36% of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career, regardless of health reform.  27% would recommend medicine as a career but not if health reform passes.
  • 62.7% of physicians feel that health reform is needed but should be implemented in a more targeted, gradual way, as opposed to the sweeping overhaul that is in legislation.

Oddly, NEMJ polled heavily on the public option, which has been out of the ObamaCare proposal since mid-December when the Senate finally killed it.  The public option is deeply unpopular among physicians, with only 29% in favor of it.  Forty-five percent would either retire or quit if it passed, and 71% believe their income would fall with a public option — probably from experience with Medicare and Medicaid.

If Medicaid is any indicator of the quality of coverage offered by government health plans, this announcement from Walgreen’s Pharmacies may be a harbinger of the reception that can be expected of Obamacare in the marketplace:

DEERFIELD, Ill., March 15, 2010 – Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG) has given notice to the State of Washington that its pharmacies across the state will continue filling Medicaid prescriptions for current patients, but effective April 16 they will not accept new Washington Medicaid patients. The company, which operates 121 pharmacies in Washington, originally planned to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in February at 64 of its stores across the state because of continued reduction in reimbursement under the State’s program. That decision was delayed while negotiations continued over the last month.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that the alternatives we’ve suggested have failed to achieve a compromise,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens executive vice president of pharmacy. “We intend to continue our commitment to serving our existing patients, but we simply can not take on additional losses. As we seek to find a solution, we remain hopeful that our continued work with the State Department of Social and Health Services will ultimately result in maintaining access to quality pharmacy care for those most in need.”

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