CNN: Doctors opt out of Medicare

Should we expect more of this if politicians expand government-run health programs? From CNN:

When you think of low-paying jobs, doctor doesn’t usually come to mind.But with a 21% cut in Medicare payments slated to take effect later this month, physicians who say they are making an OK living may be reduced to income levels that no longer make their profession viable.

… [Dr. William Schreiber of Syracuse NY] expects the cuts to take away $3 out of every $5 he currently earns. And, as a primary care physician, he already wasn’t earning anything near the salary of a specialist.

“After the costs of my own benefits are deducted, that will leave me with the equivalent of a minimum wage job,” he said.

Unless Congress acts to adjust Medicare payments without considering the impact of rising health care costs, Schreiber said he could be forced into bankruptcy or shut his practice. …

Overall, Medicare pays between 63% and 72% of the costs for one of Schreiber’s patients — although the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services applies different payment rates in different states.

(Via Mark Steyn‘s reference in the Orange County Register, via FIRM)

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