Feeling hungry? Head over to InsureBlog, where Hank Stern has put together a great Health Wonk Review, complete with a recipe for every article. And in honor or blog spam, all of the recipes contain Spam. Mmm… yummy! (I had no idea that desserts could be made from Spam. In my quest to learn something new everyday, today was a success).
The Colorado Health Insurance Insider article about the provision in the stimulus package to help laid off workers pay for COBRA was included in the HWR.
Dr. Rob, writing at Musings Of A Distractible Mind, has written a powerful open letter to the president regarding Medicare and the plans to audit primary care physicians to make sure that they aren’t defrauding Medicare. On the surface, it’s tough to argue against a program that aims to mitigate fraudulent behavior and save tax dollars. But Dr. Rob’s letter highlights the problems inherent in an audit system, and makes some very good points about the care that PCPs provide for elderly Americans.
I’m sure that there are some doctors and hospitals out there who are deliberately defrauding Medicare (and private health insurance companies). It is absolutely in the public’s best interest that the government find these providers and take whatever steps are necessary to reclaim money that shouldn’t have been paid, and prevent future cases of fraud. But I think that Dr. Rob makes a very good point when he says that most doctors are trying to provide the best possible care for their patients and simply get paid for what they do. Medical billing is fraught with complications and headaches. Mistakes will be made. If the government wants to eliminate mistakes, it seems that making the billing system less complicated would be a better solution than adding audits.
My father is on Medicare. He’s been on dialysis for nearly eight years now, and has had extensive medical care over the years. The vast majority of the doctors and hospitals here in Colorado that have treated him have been helpful and thorough. I’d hate to think that any of them might be considering abandoning their Medicare patients out of fear of government auditors. Stopping Medicare fraud is important. But implementing a system that makes doctors fearful of seeing Medicare patients is obviously counterproductive.