Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obamacare: "Be Very Afraid" Starts Today

Well, here's a little uplifter to make your day.  Not.

I went to a doc today for a semi-annual check-in.  He's a really nice guy -- he's a football fan and member of one of the more satiric, irreverent Carnival Krewes, so you know he's got a good sense of humor.  And since he's a rheumatologist who treats people who can have terribly painful chronic conditions, you know he's sympathetic and compassionate.  (Don't worry about Moogie -- she's fine!)

Pepper has been having recurring episodes with an exquisitely painful ankle, so I asked the good Doc today whether he's accepting new patients.  His immediate response?  "Is he on Medicare?  We're not accepting new Medicare patients."  You could tell it pained him to have to say that aloud -- he looked down at his hands and slowly shook his head from side to side as he said it.

Fortunately for us, it turns out that since Pepper has primary insurance and uses Tricare only for secondary coverage at present -- plus Moogie being the charming, stellar, model patient she is, vouching for him -- he agreed to see Pepper.


He explained that his practice can't accept new Medicare/Tricare patients, stay afloat fiscally, and protect its current Medicare/Tricare patients because they're looking at a 30% reimbursement cut after the first of next year.  Hello, Obamacare.

My Daddy told me that, during his last visit to his Primary Care Doc at the Arkansas teaching hospital, before they drew blood for the tests ordered by the doc they ran each test by Tricare/Medicare to see if they'd be accepted.  A few weren't going to be reimbursed because they had been run too recently on other visits.  

After consulting with the doc, they just decided not to do one test.  For another, they already have figured out a way to end-run it through coding. 

So.  Hello, Mr. Obamacare.  It's now apparent that we have active rationing in place despite what the O'Care proponents might aver.  And, more importantly, we have the medical community engaged in proactive mechanisms to game the system.  Not to defraud, mind you, just to game.

I'm not sure what's the scariest part of this whole imbroglio.  There are plenty of options for "scariest," not the least of which involves the Secretary of Health and Human Services tacitly threatening the insurance industry with economic sanctions. 

Halloween must be coming early this year.


  1. Man, I hope the "Repeal-n-Replace" guys don't wilt after we elect them. But, being politicians, they probably will and we'll be stuck with this crap...

  2. I'm worried. As a guy who recently went in to Medicare and Tri-Care For Life (heh. For Life. I'm SURE.) I have much to worry about. But I did get in "under the wire," so to speak. There's that, and there's my "middle of nowhere" residency. Neither of which I expect will save me.

    Still and even: it is to worry.

  3. Tricare's been facing big cuts for years. Congress manages to put a Band Aid on it every time, but they need to fix it permanently.

    I wasn't an officer, but I'm on MOAA's mailing list. Get on it if you can, they follow these things closely, set up form emails to congress for you, etc.

    Before I retired, I thought the folks from American Legion, VFW, etc were just folks reliving their glory days, but now that I'm out, I see what a fight it is to hang on to what we've got.

  4. Yeah, guys, it is to worry. The uncertainty of it all is so darn frustrating. Pepper has a few more years before he has to go on Tricare for Life/Medicare, and I'm not sure what that means for me since I'm 6 years his junior. I guess we need gto get grandfathered in at as many specialties as possible!

    Pepper is a member of MOAA, Rust. We follow what's going on through that and Army stuff.