In Texas, it appears that officials' worst fears about Medicare acceptance are coming to pass. According to a recent survey by the Texas Medical Association, only 58 percent of doctors in the state now accept new Medicare patients, down from approximately 90 percent before 1990. Worse, given policymakers' desire to offer patients medical homes, only 38 percent of primary care physicians are Medicare-friendly. The physicians are struggling with a 20 percent cut in inflation-adjusted dollars that has hit Medicare over the last seven years. Some Texas doctors are so frustrated with Medicare reimbursement rates that they're calling it "the new Medicaid," particularly given the looming 10.6 percent cut that will go into effect if Congress doesn't avert it.
If the planned Medicare cut does take place, Texas physicians would lose $860 million treating Medicare patients, or $18,000 per doctor, over the next 18 months, the medical association projects. At that point, the flight from Medicare is likely to accelerate dramatically, observers say.
To learn more about this situation:
- read this Houston Chronicle piece
AMA fights physician Medicare cuts
Physicians see expected Medicare cut
Reimbursement rates don't impact Medicare physician access
New Medicare bill would stop 10 percent doctor pay cut