Tuesday, March 29, 2005

We have a winner...

The winner of our first annual "What the hell is wrong with you?" award is Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan.
She has proposed a tax on physicians (yep, just physicians, not lawyers, not politicians, JUST physicians) of up to 2.3 percent of their charges to patients.
Now to understand how outrageous this is, you have to first understand how medical billing works. Doctors offices don't get paid what they bill you. They get paid whatever it is that your insurance company and the office has negotiated as a payment for service. Thus, they may charge $50 for an office visit, but since your insurance company has guaranteed them a certain number of patients, they accept $25 from your insurance company for the office visit.

So, first of all the tax is misdirected at the wrong number in the offices balance sheet anyway. In addition, the governors lackeys are saying that this will actually INCREASE the amount of money physicians get for serving Medicaid patients. So, is this kind of like "I voted for it before I voted against it"?

To say that this is benefitting physicians is just an absolute joke. If the 2.3% is approved, the physicians who accept Medicaid (this only applies to them, the others get taxed with no benefit whatsoever), they'll get reimbursed at 100% of the MediCARE rate, which is higher than the MediCAID rate. However, this rate is still lower than the lowest insurance reimbursements and end up costing the practices that accept it.

This is just another in a long line of stupid ideas out of the Granholm administration that needs to be put down before the class warfare starts against physicians. Oh, I can hear it now "Doctors won't miss that little bit of money, heck they're all millionaires".The only 'tipping point' that this will be is the one where doctors determine whether or not to continue to practice in the state of Michigan.In addition, several other states who've tried this, have found that it either didn't function as advertised, OR it was challenged in the courts and put down.

Another of the governors flunkies said that this will be a 'tipping point' for some physicians to start accepting Medicare, since the reimbursement will be more. Just remember that Granholm already instituted a 4% cut in reimbursements this year. The tax is intended to start next year. So, we reduce the payments this year, and then bring them up to a level that is still lower than what it costs the offices to service the patients and expect that to be a good thing? The only 'tipping point' that this will be is the one for the physicians who were considering practicing in another state.

Last one out of my formerly beautiful home state please turn out the lights.....

No comments: