12-18-15 – Doctors are leaving Vermont because of Medicaid, so let’s expand Medicaid!

by Rob Roper

Four pediatricians are quitting their practices in Franklin County – that’s four out of eleven. 36 percent of the pediatricians in the County are gone overnight leaving 6000 patients without a doctor.

Vermont Digger explained one doctor’s reasoning. “At Mousetrap [Pediatrics in St. Albans], 69 percent of [Dr.] DiMichele’s patients in Vermont paid with Medicaid, and he said his income went down about 40 percent this year when reimbursements went down under the Affordable Care Act.”

Over 200,000 Vermonters – roughly one third of the total population – is on some form of Medicaid. Medicaid spending is the primary reason behind the state’s structural budget deficit, which for the past and coming year has come in at about $100 million.

So what are we hearing in Montpelier? A plan to expand – yes expand – Dr. Dynasaur, which itself is an expansion of Medicaid, to include adults up to 26 years old. Speaker of the House Shap Smith (D-Morristown) is in favor of this scheme, and hopes to have legislation by the end of the 2016 session.

This “Dr. Dynasaur 2.0” would, according to WCAX, “add another 120,000 Vermonters to that tab, costing roughly $400 million more.”

First, where is a state dealing with a structural deficit largely due to Medicaid overspending going to find $400 million to expand Medicaid? But even beyond this, adding 120,000 people to the Medicaid rolls would bring the total to 325,000 – well over 50 percent of the total population of the state!

If communities with high percentages of Medicaid patients are losing their doctors now, what do you think will happen on a statewide level when Medicaid populations become the majority? What do they think will happen to the costs for private insurance, which is left to fill the gap after Medicaid underpays, when the Medicaid population explodes by another 47 percent?

It’s tempting to ask what are these people thinking, but what they are thinking is clear. Single payer advocates are using Medicaid expansion as a back door path to single payer. Medicaid for all! with no doctors to provide service. Brilliant, folks. Just brilliant.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lazarus Long December 18, 2015 at 10:14 pm

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Reply

ted robinson December 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

As Dad used to say, “None are so blind as those who cannot see.”

Reply

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