A new paper examines the number of physicians fleeing Medicare,
finding that many of them are primary-care physicians.
"The Next Exodus: Primary-Care Physicians and
Medicare" was released through The National
Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) as part of a new
book by former healthcare policy analyst David Hogberg, Ph.D.
"The American Medical
Association does a survey on this [topic] every so often, and in
2010 it found that about 17 percent of physicians were no
longer taking new Medicare patients," Hogberg reports. "When they
broke it down between different groups of physicians --
primary-care versus specialists -- they found that about 31
percent of primary-care physicians were no longer taking new
Hogberg suggests the primary reason for this is simply that
Medicare does not pay primary-care physicians enough, and
many of them lose money on the Medicare patients that they treat.
There is also the issue of "bureaucratic hassles that they have to
deal with in Medicare to get paid."
"In my paper, I suggest for all Medicare beneficiaries what I
call Medicare primary accounts that Medicare would give annually of
about $1,200," he explains. "You'd use this to pay for sort of the
smaller things -- doctors visits, maybe smaller tests,
procedures, things of that sort."
If the beneficiary has any amount left in the account at the end
of the year, he or she would get to keep 50 percent of it. The
other half would go back to the taxpayers for budget
Hogberg sees this plan having two effects: First, it would turn
the beneficiary into a medical consumer with the ability to decide
what care he or she needs and how much, while shopping
around for the best price. It would also pay the doctor and
eliminate the need for coding.