Neurologists are about to feel the sting of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning Jan. 1, Medicare will be paying them less for electrodiagnostic procedures used in identifying and treating a wide range of nerve and muscle disorders. Reimbursement rates for some tests will be slashed by more than 50 percent, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that payments to neurologists overall will shrink by 7 percent next year.
Might as well get used to this. With a long-term unfunded liability of $38 trillion, Medicare will go broke if it isn’t fixed, and compelling providers to accept lower fees is how Obamacare proposes to fix it. Yet if government technocrats could keep health care affordable by paying doctors and hospitals predetermined fees for each service they provide, Medicare wouldn’t be going broke in the first place. When it turns out once again that Medicare’s budget can’t be tamed through stringent price controls, regulators will inevitably look for other ways to ration health care.