A place where no man has gone before.
This might be a timely metaphor from Star Trek.
A 'crack in the wall' as a result of proposed health reform has already begun to form. As reported in the Arizona Republic, Bloomberg News, and The Health Care Blog, The well known and venerated name "MAYO CLINIC' in Glendale Arizona has announced that effective today, Januray 1, 2010 they will no longer accept Medicare for Primary care (formerly known as your family doctor). While this only affects five physicians at that facility, Medicare reimbursement for specialty care and hospitalization will continue to be accepted.
The amount patients will now have to pay for primary care will be about 1500 dollars/year.
Whether or not this is a 'trial balloon for Mayo will remain to be seen.
This does not apply to private or employer based insurance plans. It may also open a new market for private insurance plans to offer an option for primary care only coverage.
This of course radically affects the referrals to Mayo Clinic specialty care. It also shifts a considrable load to area doctors for primary care. It is not clear whether those patients who chose to go elsewhere will be able to be referred to Mayo for specialty care. Given the reputation of Mayo Clinic for "specialized care", this will probably be the case.
My head hurts. Maybe it's my hangover???
HAPPY NEW YEAR from Health Train.