I love caring for patients—young and old. And though I may not accept your insurance, I will always accept you. I’m still happy to care for Medicare patients even though I opted out of Medicare on Independence Day 2006. Why don’t I accept Medicare? Let me fill you in.
I do not accept Medicare because:
Medicare treats physicians as criminals—guilty until proven innocent.
Medicare warns patients on their billing statements to turn their physicians in for suspected fraud.
Medicare demonstrates no transparency in the flow of taxpayer money through their program.
Medicare may reimburse physicians so little that we lose money with each appointment forcing doctors to go bankrupt (or run Medicare mills with ramped up volume and quickie visits to make ends meet).
Medicare claims are more complex than any other insurer with more billing codes and rules and regulations that require hiring a team of staff to remain compliant or else . . .
Medicare regulatory codes by which physicians must abide is 130,000 pages long! (US Tax code is only 75,000).
Medicare requires compliance with more unfunded mandates and administrative trivia than any other insurer.
Medicare penalizes physicians financially if we don’t use a Medicare-approved computer system and electronic health record.
Medicare penalizes physicians financially if we don’t electronically submit prescriptions the way Medicare demands.
Medicare threatens doctors every year with all sorts of financial penalties if we don’t do what they (non-physicians) think we should be doing.
Medicare audits may suddenly destroy a medical practice and a physician’s life as described by Dr. Karen Smith:
Medicare abuses and bullies doctors.
This is no way to treat people who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
Pamela Wible, M.D., is a family physician who pioneered the first medical clinic designed by patients. Watch her TEDx talk on ideal medical care. And her TEDMED talk Why doctors die by suicide. Photo by GeVe.