Doctors have been moving away from Medicaid for a while now thanks to the federal government implementing price controls which result in doctors operating non-existent profit margins. Now, with Obamacare representing a federal take over of private insurance, many doctors are moving toward cash-only operations that won’t accept insurance at all.
Considering the looming doctor shortage, this isn’t good news for Medicare or Obamacare.
New data from a national survey of nearly 14,000 physicians conducted by physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins for The Physicians Foundation, analyzing 2012 practice patterns, found that 9.6 percent of “practice owners” were planning to convert to concierge practices in the next one to three years.
The movement is across all medical disciplines with 6.8 percent of all physicians planning to stop taking insurance in favor of concierge-style medicine or so-called “direct primary care.”
“Physicians have been running for cover for several years now,” said Mark Smith, president of Merritt Hawkins. “There is a lot of uncertainty in health care now and the only certainty is there is a lot of talk about cutting physicians fees. One way to get out of it is to go off the grid.”
This is a rational, free-market response to government price controls. And, frankly, it’s a positive development for health care in America in general.
Concierge hospitals and clinics already in operation can provide patients with services far more cheaply than those accepting insurance thanks to the removal of insurance/government red tape. Illustrating perfectly that the problem with health care in America is government and third-party insurers distorting the relationship between service provider and service consumer.
Here’s a video from Reason about a concierge care hospital in Oklahoma that is quite illuminating: