Approximately 7 out of every 10 doctors in California have said they will not participate in California’s Obamacare health insurance exchange, according to the Washington Examiner and several other media sources on Friday.
The California Medical Association’s president, Dr. Richard Thorp, said it doesn’t surprise him that there is a high rate of nonparticipation. The California Medical Association is the state’s largest medical association in existence. It represents 38,000 of the approximately 104,000 doctors in the state of California.
Thorpe said that doctors need some recognition that they are doing a service to the community – but, he asserts, they can’t do it for free or at a loss – as no other business would work for free or at a loss.
Reportedly, California offers one of the lowest – but not even the lowest – government reimbursement rates in the United States – 30 percent lower than the current federal Medicare payments. Reimbursement rates for some medical procedures are even lower than that. For example, Medicare pays doctors $76 for a return-office visit in some states, but in California the reimbursement is only $24.
Dr. Theodore M. Mazer – an ear, nose and throat physician in San Diego – reports that doctors receive from $500 to $700 for performing a tonsillectomy in many other states, but in California, the payment allowed is $160 under the Obamacare exchanges.
These facts have caused many doctors in California to simply to “no” to Obamacare.
Some doctors are claiming that they have been put in the California exchanges without their permission which is going to cause many more problems down the line. Donald Waters, the executive director of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association - which represents 3,100 doctors - says “this is a dirty little secret that is not really talked about as they promote Covered California.” He calls the exchange’s doctors list nothing more than a “shell game” because the vast majority of his doctors – he asserts – are not participating in the state’s exchange program.
Independent insurance brokers working with the insurance companies and the doctor networks also estimate that approximately 70 percent of California’s 104,000 licensed doctors are boycotting the Obamacare exchanges in California.
Basically, in the eleventh hour, Obamacare is coming down to what many have feared most from the start. It will be extremely difficult – if not impossible – for many citizens to find a doctor to receive care or have procedures performed by a physician because the doctors are not willing to work for the federally-regulated low fees being forced upon them by President Barack Obama’s health care law.
According to the Examiner report, Covered California refused to respond to any questions about the doctor participation list in California.