Medicare is worried about thousands of people making a deal with their physicians. The deal is patients will pay their doctors a fixed yearly fee, regardless of whether or not those patients will need the services of their physicians. The physicians are also under contract to see their patients the minute they need their doctors, and give them undivided attention.
Medicare said that this kind of arrangement threatens Medicare and the medical care overhaul envisioned under the Barack Obama administration.
“Concierge medicine” – or what they call the deal between patients and doctor wherein people will pay their physician an annual fee for exclusive treatment – poses a threat to people who cannot afford the $1,500 annual fee. In this set-up, physicians will limit their practice among patients who can “afford” them, leaving those who cannot lesser time with doctors.
Medicare recipients are said to be the most vulnerable in this situation. Medicare’s financial issues are pushing doctors to reconsider their participation in the program. This means Medicare members are faced with possible short supply of primary care physicians. A greater problem is anticipated because the new health law is expected to insure 30 million more people.
John Rother, director of AARP, said that their concern is the explicit medical delineation between people who have money and those who do not. He also said that if this continues, Medicare will stop being as universal as its objective.
Concierge doctors say that it is never about the money and the intention is not to put down those who cannot pay for their services. They simply prefer this kind of set-up because they can focus on a few numbers of patients instead of juggling a thousand patients at a time.