Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Playing Doctor

To find out why more and more primary care physicians are closing their practices due to government intrusiveness, the Obama administration has created a new program to get more intrusive.

With Obamacare set to dump 30 million new Medicare/Medicaid patients into the system, the government is desperately racing to find out why doctors don't want to see patients on whom they lose money.

To solve this baffling riddle, the Obama administration is creating a bureau of taxpayer-funded "secret shoppers" who will pose as patients and call doctors in nine states. They'll call each doctor twice - once asking if the doctor takes new patients with
private insurance and once asking if the doctor takes new patients on government plans. If there's a discrepancy in who they'll take, the doctors will presumably be taken to Guantanamo Bay for waterboarding, which is said to be nearly as torturous as medical boarding.

Government officials claim that the data collected will
only be for information purposes. But if they wanted accurate information, then they wouldn't be telling the New York Times to spread the story before any phonecalls are made. Instead, it seems more likely that the Obamacare Czars desperately want the story well-publicized to intimidate physicians... and help conceal the growing doctor shortage from the public until it's too late.

Meaning that Obama's "secret shoppers" may not have real
illnesses...but they do represent a governmental sickness from which our medical system may never recover.



Dave said...

As a person who has a serious disease that has caused me to be on MediCare...(and thank god for the program) I can tell you that I have noticed a difference in the ability to find Drs. This holds true especially for specialists....when I first started on Medicare the receptionist asked questions like how old are you? What is you medical history? What problems are you currently experiencing? to currently the First question is Do you have insurance followed closely by What type? etc......

I can see things quickly and drastically changing against those of us that are on medicare....and correct me if I'm wrong but my entire working career I paid in almost 16% of of my paycheck to Social Security Insurance because for most of my working life I was self-employed. The most important part is Insurance...I paid a premium the entire time I worked for the right to be treated like garbage not just by Drs and other medical personnel but also by the average Joe because I am on disability....but let me tell you something...disability doesn't pay squat....if I could go back to what i used to do I would in a heart beat.....Who can live on $853 a month.....that doesn't even cover the rent for where I live....let alone allow me to live "high on the hog" now because of ObamaCare I am faced with fewer and fewer Drs taking my insurance and the possibility of the Clinic where I go for life sustaining treatment to shut down because they can't make a profit

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

While you contemplate the waste, fraud and abuse by illegals, charlatans and the just-plain-lazy that sucks the life out of the MediCare system that should be helping you, take heart in knowing that the Obama's have the best health-care in the world and it doesn't cost them a stinking dime.
Feel better now?

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

Speaking of "doctors"...
Doktor Paulie:
Just a personal note to let you know your enthusiasm for your recent tandem skydives helped push me into renewing my USPA membership. I'll be having my reserve repacked and plan on making my first jump since 2007 (man, has it really been that long??) at a new drop zone in Plymouth, IN. I will have to sit through a refresher and probably do a coach jump, but it's well worth it for the rush and the sense of freedom no other experience can provide. Waddaya say, Stilton...join us?

Pete(Detroit) said...

Dave - full sympathies, and it's a damned shame that the system is being overloaded to the point of collapse. When I think of the many folks like you that are losing services / providers just so illegals and Just Plain Lazy folks can get 'free' treatments for stuff that shouldn't be an issue in the first place (obesity, say, or smoking related issues) it just turns me green.

Jim Hlavac said...

Well, Obama said he'd change the nation, he just didn't quite point out it was for the worst.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you people but I'm gonna enjoy o'quambas trial and sentencing to life in federal prison in solitary confinement. I'm pressing for the ultimate punishment for treason but far to many commies are against Capital Punishment. Oh well, life in prison with his inflatable Mandela doll will satisfy me. I am cuchieddie and that is my comment.

Suzy said...

I read this in the news last night and WOW I could not believe what I was reading. REALLY???? This is nothing short of spying, really. Sounds too Nazi-like to me.

If Medicare would actually PAY the doctors fairly, maybe more doctors would accept the program. They don't, because they can't afford to keep working for lower wages. They think there's a doctor shortage NOW...just wait until they force them all to take government pay. They'll all close up shop, take their savings, and move to Aruba or somewhere.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Suzy - I hear Costa Rica's nice, and already setting up a very profitable medical tourism trade..

Jeff H said...

The way to put a stop to this nonsense? Require all callers to give their insurance information up front. If they don't, hang up. If they do, and they turn out to be government jack-booted thugs, charge them [the callers] with Medicare fraud for giving false Medicare numbers or for abuse of their Medicare resources.

Let the bloodletting begin...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dave- Sorry to hear of your plight. If it gives any bittersweet comfort, you're about to have a lot of company. Doctors are already severely underpaid for Medicare and Medicaid patients, and Obamacare dictates that they'll soon make a lot less. There's the so-called "Doc Fix" which will cut an additional 20% from their payments (if left un-fixed), and then the real whopper: Obamacare's half-trillion in cuts to Medicare funding, which the Dems said could be made without affecting service...despite adding 30 million new patients into the defunded system.

If all of this sounds like a surefire way to get doctors to give up their primary care practices, you're right. Obamacare is designed to destroy private insurance and private medicine.

@Angry Hoosier Dad- Yes, it's a great comfort that the Obama family enjoys the very best medical care on the taxpayer's dime...and will for the rest of their lives.

Regarding parachute jumping, I'd love to join you on your next outing, but I'm afraid I have a previous commitment. To not wetting myself.

@Pete(Detroit)- I have plenty of sympathy for the genuinely needy. Unfortunately, waaaaaaaaay too much of our money is going to those who are gaming the system.

@Jim Hlavac- If you think it's bad now, just watch what happens if Obama gets a second term. As the great political philosopher DougM says (at Sondrakistan.com) he'll take us from "Hope and Change" to "Rope and Chains."

@Cuchieddie- I must admit, there's a certain pleasing symmetry thinking about Obama in a jail cell someday, in which every time there's a rollcall he'll say "present."

@Suzy- It's all part of the plan. Many doctors say the government paperwork is so onerous that they just can't handle it and keep their doors open. So they're quitting private practices and joining group medical facilities so someone else can do the paperwork (although part of Obamacare is making sure all that "paperwork" is actually electronic data which the government can review in real-time). Individual care and a relationship with your family doctor will be a thing of the past...and conveyor belt medicine will be the norm.

@Jeff H- I doubt that the callers could be charged with Medicare fraud, because the "most transparent administration in history" will surely supply them with cover names and specious supporting documents. Seriously, an insurance card has got to be way easier to fake than a birth certificate. (grin)

CenTexTim said...

I have ties to the medical community. Many doctors in this area haven't been accepting new Medicare patients for several years because (1) the reimbursement rates do not cover costs, (2) the administrative burden is significantly greater than private insurance, and (3) there are often significant delays in receiving payment.

In private conversations most will attribute at least a portion of rising health care costs to rising malpractice insurance rates and the need to practice 'defensive medicine' (ordering unnecessary tests and procedures to protect themselves from ambulance-chasing shysters).

So instead of addressing these issues via decreased regulation and tort reform, we have obamacare and 'secret shoppers.'

Drop your pants and bend over the table...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@CenTexTim- Excellent point! Tort reform, which would dramatically reduce doctors' insurance costs and needless tests, would not only be a tremendous boost to the medical system and the economy, it wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime. Unfortunately, the trial lawyers who make so much money from medical lawsuits pretty much own the Democrat party by virtue of their campaign donations.

Suzy said...

Has anyone ever noticed that when you read of a really extreme, dramatic medical malpractice or mistake, its usually from the UK? That should be a serious warning to our country.

Earl said...

Leeches, I hate leeches. But they appear to be the future of healthcare in more ways than one.

Colby said...

A few years ago, I went to this orthopaedic surgeon who has an awesome reputation in our community. I have a couple of discs in the old neck that refuse to behave. He told me surgery would fix it, but suggested waiting until the pain became too annoying to ignore before going thorugh surgery.

The neck was driving me nuts , so I called his office to schedule. The receptionist told me that he quit his practice about two years ago and started building motorcycles! Out of curiosity, I visited his shop. He said he doesn't pay a dime for malpractice insurance anymore and is making more money than he had made in the previous 5 years. He was happier than a pig in poop.

So, where the hell will we even FIND a doctor in another ten years? The only one will be in Washington, getting paid millions to give health care to the creators of Obamacare and getting paid with OUR money.

RainCloud said...

The long range plan, of course, involves forced servitude. As private healthcare dies and the government completely takes over, doctors will be told where to practice, what to practice and who their patients are, and they will not have a choice, short of incarceration or termination.

Since this might be considered discriminatory towards doctors, this policy will extend to other professions as well. If you want to be an auto mechanic, for example, but there are “enough” in your area, you will be told where you can ply you trade.

Now, since this might result in people just avoiding “regulated” fields, the natural result is that all fields will be regulated. Furthermore, testing will be conducted in Pre-K programs to determine what career path you will be on based on your attributes … no point in your wasting time pursuing a path to a profession that is not needed or that you aren’t “suited” for. By the end of grade school, your future profession will be fixed. By the end of high school, you will know where you will be living out the remaining days of your life and what you will be doing with those days.

No need to worry, like the bank teller, that you may be replaced with an ATM, because there will be no need for technical advancement now that everyone has a job, unemployment is at 0%, population controls keep growth at 0% and undesirables no longer reproduce. If someone is very sick, old or infirm so that they cannot work for an extended period, they will need to be put to sleep for the greater societal good. The same holds for anyone “not needed” for a variety of other reasons, too. No hard feelings.

There will be no poor and there will be no rich. Everything you need will be provided: food, clothing, housing, medical care and entertainment.

Resistance is futile.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Suzy- I've read some of those articles, where medical personnel simply step over the dead in the hallways. Or recently, one in which an ambulance refused to transport a woman because she was conscious... shortly after which she was satisfactorily dead, and presumably qualified for government-funded transportation. In a hearse.

@Earl- At least we used to be able to keep the bloodsuckers in a jar. Now they're keeping us contained.

@Colby- The stats on new doctors entering the field (especially primary care) are very frightening. Who wants to go into a profession that takes years (and a fortune) to achieve, after which they're working for almost nothing and under constant threat of career assassination from ravenous lawyers?

I predict that in the not-distant future it will be rare that anyone actually sees a doctor instead of a bored functionary who simply reads questions off a computer screen, pecks in your answers, and then gets the list of approved treatments from the Obamacare Monolith in Washington.

@RainCloud- I hope you're overstating the case, but you may be right. Everyone can't have "everything" unless steps are taken to make sure that the government controls all aspects of our lives and economy. And Heaven help us, but if the nightmare scenario you describe above was on the ballot and given a catchy name, I'm not sure today's voters wouldn't rush to the polls to enact it.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Stilt - like the 'No More Poor Equality of Achievment Act"?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Pete(Detroit)- Catchy! Or howzabout "Ameri-WIN?"

Andrew said...

Of the doctors I know, one is indeed heading to Costa Rica, one is switching to being a full time professional litigation expert, another is quitting private practice and heading to law school, after which she can combine her MD and JD degrees and make truly big bucks...but in law, not medicine. Told me 'Lawyers eat Doctors. I need to be top of the food chain."

As Stilton said, Obamacare was designed to destroy both private practice and private insurance. It's fast accomplishing both.

Doktor Paulie said...

@AHDad: Wonderful news! Glad I could help. I consider jumping out of a perfectly good airplane to be part of my ongoing health maintenance plan by which I hope to stave off the need for serious medical care as long as possible. The huge innundation of endorphins has got to be good for you. Treatment to be taken as often as possible and in the long run it's cheaper than healthcare.

@SJ: nothing that Depends can't handle and you're likely to pass out from sheer terror as you approach that yawning door to the sky anyway. The first couple of times, anyway. After that it's easier. The only reason I didn't myself was because I had a pretty woman by the name of "Scooter" strapped to my back and it would have been too embarassing to either pass out or wet myself. So I started screaming for my mommy and clawing at th interior of the aircraft and they laughed at the "joke" and threw me out and Scooter got us down okay.

That was the first two times. This last time I was real brave all the way. You bet. The Mistress of All Things Digital is still trying to figure out how to upload the video to YouTube. Despite the awfully unkind scoffing by @Hellferbrekfist, it's not easy to do with the sound intact since there's some kind of issue about copyright with the songs dubbed in by the editor at the skydiving place. You may all have to endure the video in silence. Pout!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@DoktorPaulie- If you have to strip out the copyrighted songs, I can play it silently...while ALSO playing sound effects of falling bombs and hysterical screams.

JustaJeepGuy said...

RainCloud said:

"Now, since this might result in people just avoiding “regulated” fields, the natural result is that all fields will be regulated. Furthermore, testing will be conducted in Pre-K programs to determine what career path you will be on based on your attributes … no point in your wasting time pursuing a path to a profession that is not needed or that you aren’t “suited” for. By the end of grade school, your future profession will be fixed. By the end of high school, you will know where you will be living out the remaining days of your life and what you will be doing with those days."

I don't know if they still do it this way, but in Germany it was the way things were done once. Even post-WWII. Scary, huh? But if you read John Taylor Gatto (The Underground History Of American Education, for instance), you'll find out that there are those in this country who most definitely want it here and now!