Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Snooping Shoppers and the End Game of ObamaCare

In his 6/27/2011 Forbes blog post, Avik Roy discusses the latest NYT story about government "secret shoppers". Roy's take-home point:
...[D]octors won't take federally-sponsored snooping lying down. Instead, more and more of them will drop out of Medicaid, and increasingly Medicare, rather than subject themselves to the onerous hassles and financial burdens of staying involved—only to face a federal audit for doing so. Doctors will avoid setting up shop in inner cities, where a higher proportion of patients are in these programs. In turn, access to care for those patients will get worse, not better, in a system that is already a humanitarian catastrophe.

The endgame for Obamacare’s proponents will necessarily involve compulsion: forcing doctors to see Medicaid and Medicare patients, despite penurious reimbursement rates, or revoking their licenses to practice medicine.
(Read the full text of Roy's post as well as the original NYT article.)

Roy is very likely correct. Last year, the Massachusetts legislature state legislature considered forcing doctors to accept government-controlled insurance rates as a condition of retaining their state medical licenses (regardless of whether or not the doctors lost money on each patient) -- in effect, creating a "physician mandate". (That law did not pass.)

Supporters of government health care will view a national equivalent as a logical next step to "fix" the problems of ObamaCare.

Calls for such a "solution" may increase as more patients with private insurance start experiencing similar problems as reported in this 6/27/2011 San Francisco Chronicle article, "Doctors Reject Insured Patients on Low Payments, Study Says".

If the government imposes a "physician mandate", expect a mass exodus of physicians out of the American medical system.