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When Doctors Stop Taking Insurance

Private health insurance used to be the ticket to a doctor’s appointment. But that’s no longer the case in some affluent metropolitan enclaves, where many physicians no longer accept insurance and require upfront payment from patients — cash, checks and credit cards accepted....Efforts by insurers to rein in health care costs by holding down physician fees — especially for primary care doctors, who play a critical role in health care though they are among the lowest paid doctors — appear to be accelerating the trend, and some patients say it’s getting harder to find an in-network physician.

...a new survey of 13,575 doctors from around the country by The Physicians Foundation found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent plan to take steps that reduce patient access to their services, and nearly 7 percent plan to switch to cash-only or concierge practices, in which patients pay an annual fee or retainer in addition to other fees....

Can the Affordable Care Act, intended to widen access to health care, succeed by expanding insurance coverage if primary-care doctors are walking away from insurance?....

The country is already facing a shortage of physicians, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. By 2025, the nation will have 100,000 fewer doctors than needed, according to the association.

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And yet Romney keeps insisting that privatizing Medicare will cure all.

Last night's debate was amuzing. Romney repeatedly charged Obama was cutting "$716B from Medicare" even though Ryan is proposing many of the same cuts, and he dredged up the "death panel" thing again....amuzing because Romney commented wrt raising his own sons, that they seemed to think that if they told a lie to him enough times, he might believe it.

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