Medicare is a federally administered system of health insurance available to persons aged 65 and over. On Wednesday, the New York Times discussed the alarming reality that more and more doctors are not accepting Medicare in Finding a Doctor Who Accepts Medicare Isn't Easy.
The article reports that as folks become eligible for Medicare they realize that this safety net or support network no longer holds because doctors are not willing to accept Medicare. Why are doctors such as internists, psychiatrists, gynecologists and other specialists opting out of this insurance system? The paperwork. Doctors spent many years getting to where they are so that they can practice medicine. Not so they can fill out files and files of paperwork.
As insurance systems like Medicare proliferate, the returns on being a doctor like an internist decreases. More time is spent dealing with the payment hassles, and less with the patient discussing relevant health issues. Moreover, the doctor gets paid less as a result of low reimbursement rates. Such systems devalue the doctors of this country. This is why doctors do not want to enter the internal medicine specialty... too much grunt work, too little return: financially and psychologically. The New York Times articles cites 2 converging trends: decreasing internists, and increasing numbers of internists that do not accept Medicare. This leaves the patient in a very tight situation.
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