Some Drudge News to Start the “Birthday”

January 2, 2010


First time I have gotten a shift since we gave up running my shop until the long semester starts, and I have only had two customers. That means Interweb Goof Up Time!

So a Mayo clinic in Arizona is no longer accepting Medicare as a third-party payer? A couple of things to notice:

*Note how the “mainstream” phrased it. The Mayo clinic is not refusing to treat Medicare patients; they are just requiring them to pay in cash INSTEAD of accepting Medicare.

*Note the reason why they are doing this.

“Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley [, Mayo spokesman,] said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic” (emphasis mine).

That is just in Arizona. The Federales do not want to pay what the market (as screwed up as it is, considering the bane that is third-party payers still exists) demands. Do you expect doctors to keep on losing money, even at the point of a gun (like some forms of Obamacare would demand)?

*Note the detractors’ response.

“Robert Berenson, a fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said physicians’ claims of inadequate reimbursement are overstated. Rather, the program faces a lack of medical providers because not enough new doctors are becoming family doctors, internists and pediatricians who oversee patients’ primary care.”

It’s true that we have a primary practitioner shortage. That shortage is due to market interference, not due to greed, like Mr. Berenson would like you to believe. Things like third-party payers and malpractice case law add huge costs to doctor’s bottom line. I have an uncle who lost his private practice because he WON a medical malpractice suit. Why would anyone in their right mind spend hundreds of thousands of dollars training to become a doctor in that kind of environment?

Colorado “lowers” their minimum wage.

Apparently, Colorado has their state minimum wage law based on inflation and did not rig it to stay flat when inflation decreases. And apparently, inflation dropped last year. So minimum wage workers get 3 cents less an hour. Weird, huh? I’m not sure if that is governmental responsibility or not. On the one hand, it is nice for the government to allow businesses to lower their costs when inflation (and therefore revenue) drops. On the other hand, they still have a state minimum wage law that is usually higher then the federal one, thus adding to business costs.

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