Sunday, July 15, 2012
Death of Solo and Small Group Practices As Seen on Fox News
Death be not proud.
John Donne (1572-1631), Holye Sonnets
July 15, 2012 - Last night Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas, now Fox News contributor, hosted an interview with three physicians, The physicians said health reform and other economic pressures was forcing them out of private practice.
This phenomenon is not new to physicians. A large Physicians Foundation Survey in 2010 was titled “Health Reform and Decline of Private Practice.” But economic pressures are gaining momentum. More physicians are retiring early, choosing to see fewer Medicare and Medicare patients, and seeking hospital employment. And these pressures are certain to be highlighted even further when the Physicians Foundation releases results of its E-survey of 650,000 physicians, now complete, before tbe November election, now just over 100 days away.
Huckabee spoke to an internist, a family physician, and a cardiologist. All had the same basic message: health reform regulations, lower reimbursements, higher malpractice premiums, fear of federal fines for non-compliance, third party intrusions into their business procedures , and ever rising practice expenses were threatening the existence as independent private practitioners. All said they would not recommend medicine as a profession and so advised potential future physicians.
Is there any going back to the good old days of medicine did well and were considered upper middle class? Can private practice be resuscitated? Not likely. There has already been too much water under the third party management bridge. And reform measures are being implemented at a hastening pace.
The three doctors had suggestions to make to right doctors' economic ship. Tax deductions for health care for everyone, entitlement reforms including means testing for the more affluent, Medicare and Medicaid vouchers, consumer payment for routine services, aggressive marketing of health saving accounts with high deductible health plans and catastrophic coverage, private Medicare payments as an option, marketing of plans across state lines, and comprehensive tort reform.
These are likely to be the basic elements of any Republican replacement plan, but they are not likely to implemented unless Republican sweep the Presidency, the House, and the Senate.
Tweet: Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, host of his Fox News TV show, interviewed 3 doctors whose backs are up against the economic wall.