One way the Democrats “paid” for ObamaCare was syphoning $500 billion out of the Medicare program. The government will pay doctors and hospitals less for the medical treatment of seniors.

What does that have to do with rationing? Well, the inevitable effect of these lower payments is a decrease in the number of health care providers willing to accept Medicare patients:

Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the [Washington, DC] District’s Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.

And those still willing to accept Medicare patients are being forced to cut back on the care they provide to them. Geriatric specialist Michael Trahos is a typical example:

The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly.

This is how government-run health care programs “control” costs. They impose price controls that make it impossible for doctors and other providers to treat all those “covered” patients. As Dr. Yau put it:

It’s not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don’t stay in business.

This is de facto rationing. The reduction in payments automatically reduces the supply of care. And if you think this is an UNINTENDED consequence, you should refrain from reproducing.

Comments 5

  1. Marc Brown wrote:

    I take it you support higher taxes to fund Medicare then. And of course, there are no savings to be made by reducing unnecessary tests and other procedures, are there?

    Posted 30 Nov 2010 at 8:09 am
  2. ECM wrote:

    I must be living in bizarro world: Marc Brown, a hard-leftist, is *advocating* cuts to Medicare and Medicaid*.

    *Which is, of course, the predictable result when you don’t have any actual convictions that aren’t subject to revision once your betters tell you to get in line. (A common theme for people like Marc Brown, who have never had an original thought in their entire life.**

    **Yep, pure ad hom, just like Marc Brown usually makes–delicious!

    Posted 30 Nov 2010 at 4:55 pm
  3. Marc Brown wrote:

    Advocating cuts? Are you saying that Medicare should pay for any test or drug that a patient demands with no evidence of worth? Would you pay any fee demanded by a hospital or doctor? Would you place any price controls on spending at all?

    Posted 01 Dec 2010 at 2:33 am
  4. Sheri wrote:

    I’m a pharmacist and I believe that it should be the right of the patient, with the advice of their doctor, to decide what treatment they should receive. It’s none of the government’s business. My husband and I have a disabled child who is going to be negatively affected by the same kind of rationing that is going to withhold care from the elderly. We are trying to save every dollar we can so we can afford to pay for her medical care when the communist government decides to cut off her care. And the stupid government wonders why we aren’t spending any money?

    Senior citizens are terrified of Obamacare. My 80 year old mother has begged me never to let the government “pull the plug” on her. Her house is paid for and she has some savings. It will be a cold day in He!! before I let my daughter or my mother go without needed medical care. If Obamacare is not repealed, my husband and I will never spend a dollar on anything except groceries, gasoline, and college for our children.

    Obamacare has put me in a real dilemma regarding my mother’s health care. I had to promise her never to “pull the plug” but someday she might be in a situation where I don’t think she would want to continue to be in pain.

    Posted 09 Dec 2010 at 7:39 pm
  5. Marc Brown wrote:

    So let’s get this straight Sheri – you’re happy for your tax dollars to fund Medicare to pay for any treatment a patient wants, regardless of efficacy, quality of life etc?

    As for end of life care, is it your view that no doctor should discuss anything but a medical intervention, regardless of quality of life?

    Posted 10 Dec 2010 at 3:51 am

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