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Take Two Aspirin and Go Galt in the Morning

May 18th, 2010 - 8:15 am

Two medical stories out of Texas this morning. First up, Lone Star docs are dropping Medicare patients at accelerating rates:

Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.

“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn’t fix Medicare soon, there’ll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress’ promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”

Next up, doctors willing to see Medicare patients are more and more likely to have come from Third World medical schools:

Of the roughly 1,500 doctors who have received fast-tracked licenses in the last three years in exchange for agreeing to treat the state’s neediest patients, nearly 40 percent were trained at international schools, everywhere from India and Mexico to Uzbekistan and Rwanda, and a quarter were trained in Texas. The Texas Medical Board fast-tracked more licenses for doctors trained in Pakistan than it did for those educated in Louisiana or Oklahoma.

And there you have it. The best and brightest doctors aren’t willing to work for slave wages (relatively speaking, but still), and the doctors who are willing — surprise! — might not be nearly as well trained.

Sure, Harvard will keep producing lawyers, but fewer of our best and brightest will be attending medical school. And that indicates lower overall quality of care for everyone down the line.

Of course, there’s a solution for doctors who won’t treat Medicare/Medicaid patients. It’s called “single payer.” That’s when, doctors either take government payment and nothing but government payment, or they stop being doctors.

That’s the Progressive dream, and an American nightmare.

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