I'm a medical coder and biller, and at first I didn't understand how the gov't would get doctors to report who smokes, who drinks, who is obese,etc. Why should they? Then I went to work in a 2-physician office in 2011 and got my answer. Duh! Bribes, in the form of the Meaningful Use program. The term "meaningful use" refers to the use of "certified electronic medical record technology" to collect and report data to the center for Medicare services on Medicare recipients. In 2011 and 2012, doctors who complied with stage 1 requirements received an incentive payment of $18,000 each, for reporting smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. The doctors could pick from a list which measures they wanted to report on. Stage 2 takes it further, and the payment for each doctor is $12,000 if they have completed Stage 1 and continue the stage 1 measures while working on Stage 2. Concerning to me is that Stage 2 seems to go beyond just Medicare recipients and invades the privacy of all patients of Medicare-participating doctors (I have to check on that to be sure). One of the alternate measures a doctor can report on is child immunization status.
The 2 doctors for whom I worked for a year and a half "earned" their $18,000 apiece in 2012. If they meet all the requirements through 2016, they stand to make $44,000 each. If they don't comply, the cuts to their Medicare payments for legitimate services provided start in 2014.
Obamacare has already cost a fortune, and these payments aren't even for patient care. They are for paperwork, computer programming and collecting private data for who-knows-what purposes. The only answer I can think of (until economic chaos brings it all down) is to find a doctor who doesn't participate in Medicare or Medicaid, if you can afford it. I have already warned my own elderly mom and dad. Here's a link to my sources of information, other than first-hand experience:
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