Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Medicare Squeeze

The November 26, 2010 Washington Post notes that Medicare patients continue to have difficulty seeing their physicians, and that such problems are likely to worsen soon.

Here's an excerpt from, "Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about elderly patients":
Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you're a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.

How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he'll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District's Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.

"It's not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don't stay in business," she said.
The article also notes that this is the current situation after the temporary one-month government "fix" -- but that the underlying problems with Medicare will soon return with a vengeance after the latest fix expires.

As always, these Medicare patients have theoretical "coverage" -- but that's not the same as access to actual medical care.

Perhaps those on the political Left who advocate for universal health care as "Medicare for all" should first try to find a doctor as a new Medicare patient.

(Link via Dr. Milton Wolf.)