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Should healthcare providers be required to accept Medicaid/Medicare patients?

In the state of Geogia, the governor's seat is up election. Gov. Deal's time is up, who was opposed to Medicaid expansion. Now with the prospect of a new governor, the issue has come up again, and I keep hearing about doctors refusing to accept Medicaid or Medicare patients. This ability to refuse these patients kind of astounds me.

It seems to me that since these are government programs, healthcare providers should not be allowed to refuse these patients. What do you think?

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bingst 8 Oct 9

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4 comments

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1

I think it's more complicated than this simple choice. The reimbursements from the government for these programs have been falling behind to the point where physicians(and their HMOs or hospitals) lose money. I can't think of any other profession where providers would be expected to lose money.

By "falling behind" do you mean a failure to pay at all or a failure to pay enough?

@bingst The reimbursements to doctors have fallen behind physician costs, although I haven't heard of cases where nothing is paid.

@ladyprof70 I would have to see some reliable statistics on that. I'm not saying you're guilty of this, but there are a lot of people at all levels in different roles who use "costs" interchangeably with "prices." Usually what is really meant is prices, e.g. "rising healthcare costs." And rarely do I ever read or hear anything about profit margins.

[rd.com] wildly overinflated hospital costs is the article's title.

i have seen even more inflated prices (the title says costs) reported by patients who dared to look at their bills.

no one is asking hospitals to lose money -- except red state governors who declined the medicaid expansion funds. hospitals close in those states.

g

[washingtonpost.com]

from almost two years ago: paul ryan's claim that more and more doctors just won't take medicaid (two pinnocchios from wapo). it's state by state. my point about the red states stands.

g

3

yes. you know who doesn't take that? cancer centers of america. they spend a LOT of money on tv advertising, and you know who watches a lot of tv? old, disabled people like me, who can't really get out and do much else, and are on medicare and medicaid. so we see, gee, there are all these new techniques and procedures that could save my life, and oops, they only serve people who can pay. oh WELL.

g

Only serve people who can pay better than Medicare/Medicaid. Doesn't surprise me in the least bit.

@bingst if they didn't buy all that air time, and hire all those actors, they could afford to do pro bono work, or its medical equivalent.

g

2

I'm not sure what I think on this issue. Insurance companies have fucked everything up so badly that nobody knows what's what any more. The reason medical providers don't take Medicare/Medicaid patients has to do with how byzantine the reimbursement structure has become. Detangling medicine from money is like sorting out a dozen strings of Christmas lights that had all been crammed into a small box.

2

Isn't that part of the oath doctors take not paishent turned away?

Unless it doesn't pay enough, apparently.

Only in emergencies. And only in hospitals.

Actually, the Hippocratic oath only requires that they 'do no harm'.

Law states that they cannot turn away any emergency despite your ability/inability to pay. However, if you have Medicare/ Medicaid and go to a place that does not accept them, they will bill you. I’ve seen the billing office make thier “visits” in non profit hospitals, I can’t imagine the bill chasing that goes on with for profit facilities.. I avoid them out of principle.

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