Every year, Medicare is scheduled to cut payments to physicians and hostitals. Every year, Congress delays the cuts.
There will come a time when Congress doesn’t.
The province of Ontario has launched a new cost-cutting program. It is reducing payments to physicians.
If this policy continues, physicians will lose money on patients. So, they will stop taking new patients. Result: shortages. There will be filled patient waiting rooms.
If the government makes this illegal, some will move out of Canada. Students planning to become physicians will take other career paths.
The experiment north of the border will give us an idea of what is going to arrive here.
The government’s get-tough approach in contract talks is likely to be watched carefully by other jurisdictions, coming after several years in which physicians across Canada have seen their incomes rise significantly.
Ontario’s Liberal government has repeatedly said it is seeking to freeze physician payment over the next two years, in line with a pay cap it has proposed for all public-sector workers.
For a time, Canadians physicians can come to the USA. But what happens when the Medicare cuts begin? Where will they go?
I think physicians will stop taking Medicare patients. They will demand payment from patients who can afford to pay.