Major New York Hospital Not Participating In Obamacare: Reimbursement Too Low

Those of you who have read Atlas Shrugged will understand this question: Are doctors going to “go Galt”?

For those unacquainted with the plot of the novel I will ask the question another way: Are doctors going to go on strike against the Affordable Care Act?

Because, despite the fact that health insurance is now less affordable, doctors are finding the reimbursement rates to be far too low. Hospitals are opting out.

The latest evidence comes from Newsday—thanks to a reader who emailed me about this story:

Stony Brook University Hospital, Suffolk’s only academic medical center, is not taking any of the eight plans offered in the county on New York’s health insurance exchange, citing reimbursement rates that are too low to be acceptable.

No hospital on Long Island appears to take all of the exchange plans, but Stony Brook seems to be the only one not accepting any. At least one other academic medical center and safety net hospital in the region, Westchester Medical Center, also is not taking any exchange plans, citing the same reason.

“We are still in negotiation with some of the plans and have not reached agreement with them,” said Dr. Reuven Pasternak, Stony Brook’s CEO.

“We certainly support universal coverage and are hoping the exchange would be vehicle for that,” Pasternak said. But, he said, the rates being offered are too low – “below Medicare and approaching Medicaid,” the latter generally considered a very low rate of reimbursement.

I found it painful to read a hospital CEO who felt obligated to proclaim his loyalty to “universal coverage.” It is especially painful because it is so self-serving. “If only the government would provide all patients with more money we would be happy to serve them.” I am not accusing the CEO of being selfish but he shouldn’t be sloganizing for the regime. The fact is that his hospital would be much more likely to help people who couldn’t pay if they were free to negotiate with patients without the government trying to impoverish them. But that was not enough for our political masters. Society actually providing health care for those who can’t afford it does not establish that health care is a right.  So they have come up with a system that makes hospitals and doctors dig in their heels because they feel like they are being robbed.

Because it is true; they are being robbed.

So, once again, people are paying higher prices for a smaller network, that may be shrinking to even smaller size.

File this under: Obamacare, the big death panel.