He had just about every nasty symptom imaginable, from constant vomiting to dizziness to ultra-high fever, but the doctors couldn’t figure out why.
Fortunately his condition improved enough that he was released from the hospital, and now he’s on the mend.
Now, my step-dad is a Medicare patient. But he just found out that he’s been unceremoniously dropped by his Primary Care doctor.
Apparently his physician dropped all of her Medicare patients in one giant culling.
It turns out that physicians across the country have been firing Medicare patients; and according to a late 2015 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 21% of physicians are not taking new Medicare patients.
Much of this trend is based on stiff penalties and financial disincentives from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and 2015’s Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization (MACRA) Act.
MACRA in particular is completely mystifying.
The law created a whopping 2,400 pages of regulations that Medicare physicians are expected to know and follow.
Many of the rules are debilitating.
For instance, MACRA changed how physicians can be reimbursed for their Medicare patients by establishing a bizarre set of standards to determine if a physician is providing “value”.
As an example, if a patient ends up in the emergency room, his or her physician can incur a steep penalty.
This explains why my step-dad was dropped by his doctor.
The healthcare system has been broken to the point that physicians now have a greater incentive to fire their Medicare patients than to treat them.
One Florida-based physician summed up the situation like this: