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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/9/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Doctors say they can't accept low payments.

The vast majority of California doctors are boycotting the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Citing low reimbursement rates and the likelihood they will lose money, doctors are opting out of Obamacare.

Despite a media and PR blitz to get people in, the only ones enrolling are those who get insurance for free. Meanwhile, doctors are quitting in droves.

Despite a media and PR blitz to get people in, the only ones enrolling are those who get insurance for free. Meanwhile, doctors are quitting in droves.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/9/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Obamacare, California, Covered California, prices, pay, cost, crash, model, enrollment, percentage


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The California Medical Association, which represents 104,000 doctors in California says that doctors cannot be expected to work at a loss. Association president, Dr. Richard Thorp said, "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."

California is in a unique predicament because it offers such low reimbursement rates, about 30 eprcent lower than federal Medicare payments and below.

Where most doctors would receive about $75 per return Medicare visit, California doctors get less than $25.

Insurance companies announced in December that their reimbursement rates would be tied to Medi-Cal, which pays low rates to doctors. Doctors are basically being told they will have to accept less than they are accustomed to billing.

Doctors are rebelling by refusing to participate in the exchange.

Doctors are also objecting to being listed as available under the Covered California website when they are not, in fact, participating.

Independent insurance brokers are saying that as many as 70 percent of California's doctors are refusing to participate in the Covered California insurance exchanges. Covered California claims 85 percent of California doctors are participating, but that was based on a survey that was circulated in May. At that time, doctors were not told the rates they would be paid.

Now that doctors have seen the rates, they are saying no, en masse.

As the government continues to botch the American healthcare system, doctors are contemplating quitting practice altogether.

This combines with a flood of Medicaid enrollments from people too poor to pay for coverage. Meanwhile, the middle class in being badly squeezed in a double-bind that will crush the unwitting in October of 2014, as employers begin cancelling their employee healthcare plans.

The result of this will be overwhelmed, cheaply paid doctors, financed by the federal government, and later the state, neither of which will be collecting anywhere close to projected revenues from the healthy.

The healthy middle class will simply start going without insurance, leaving the working backbone of the state uninsured. This will create pressure on government to do something to control costs and to provide coverage for the millions of freshly-uninsured middle-class, working Americans, who previously enjoyed employer-provided coverage.

Employers are expected to opt for penalties as opposed to paying increasing insurance rates, thus dumping millions of previously-covered people into the market.

All of these people, if they do get insurance, will overwhelm the small number of doctors participating in the program.

The system will collapse, compelling the federal government to strongly consider a single-payer system where everyone  pays via their taxes and everyone accepts less.

The gravy train is not screeching to a halt-it's screeching to a collision.


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