Scary Business

November 4, 2015

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On Friday, the Obama administration published a final rule on physician payment for 2016. The 1,358-page Medicare rule, with the names of 28 bureaucrats you can contact with questions, makes changes to physician payment and Medicare Part B. A similar rule will be issued next year for 2017 and likely every year after.  Who has time to read these??
No wonder it was release the day before Halloween. The rules are hellacious, a word meaning very bad or overwhelming. The Medicare administration also released a 1,221-page final rule for hospitals with this scary title:
“Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Short Inpatient Hospital Stays; Transition for Certain Medicare-Dependent, Small Rural Hospitals under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System; Provider Administrative Appeals and Judicial Review.”
I’ll bet your eyes just glazed over. Your physician’s eyes and hospital administrator’s eyes will be tempted to glaze over too, but doctors can be jailed if these rules aren’t followed to the letter. The physician payment rule also has additional pages beyond the 1,358 pages, but they can only be found on the agency’s website. Here’s the download list of those pages:
The first of the 15 folders above has nine files in it, with duplicate files for Excel and text:
The second file listed above is an excel spreadsheet of 10,885 items and their federal CPT/HCPCS codes (Current Procedural Technology/Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) health care providers must use for billing. The list begins as follows:
What does this show? It shows how the federal government through Medicare is taking over the practice of medicine. How can your doctor be expected to read these or keep up with them? And what costs are added to health care as a result of trying?
The 1,358-page physician payment rule has 431,027 words. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace has 1,440 pages and 561,093 words, but reading a federal regulation written by bureaucrats is not like reading a novel. It’s much more difficult and far less pleasant. And the stakes are much higher. Payments can be cut and physicians can be fined, jailed, or lose their practices.
Government-run health care began with Medicare, which now has a $43 trillion unfunded liability – more than twice our national debt. It’s unsustainable as is, but Obamacare stripped half a trillion dollars from Medicare and gave authority to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to ration care by reimbursement cuts and payment denials. Retiring babyboomers and insufficient cash is a dangerous combination if you’re a patient.
Can you be free? Yes. The physicians and surgical centers popping up around the country that refuse Medicare and all third-party (health plan) payment – and the patients who go to them – are the only ones free from government control. Find one and help them thrive. We must build a Medicare-free America. It’s not enough to repeal Obamacare; we must escape Medicare too.
Advancing a Medicare-free America,
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder
P.S. Don’t forget to refuse to enroll in Obamacare! CCHF has provided a one-page document with three legal alternatives. Find the alternatives, our opt-out petition and more at www.REFUSETOENROLL.ORG Also, DOUBLE your DONATION to CCHF before midnight on Thursday, November 12. Just click: