Last month a Republican urologist in Florida posted a sign on his office door telling his patients that if they voted for President Obama, they should “seek urologic care elsewhere.” Despite later admitting that he knew little about the new law, the sign added: “Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”
The Daily Caller reports that another doctor has pulled a similar stunt. Arizona dermatologist Joseph Scherzer put a sign outside his office warning his patients that he will be closing his doors because of the new law. “If you voted for Obamacare, be aware these doors will close before it goes into effect,” the sign reads. Scherzer — a self-described conservative — claims that the “stress” the law will supposedly impose will cause him to close up shop:
“I’m absolutely serious [about stopping practicing] and it’s not just because I’ll be nearing 65,” Scherzer said. “The stress is what would push me out the door.” [...]
Scherzer said the bill’s emphasis on punitive measures for physicians not following government-prescribed treatment methods under Medicare would increase his anxiety level to the point he would no longer be able to practice medicine.
“Doctors have actually committed suicide over these things,” Scherzer said. But it’s unclear what punitive measures Scherzer is referring to. One possibility is comparative effectiveness research (CER) into which treatments work most effectively. Indeed, conservatives have been using this provision in their attacks on health care reform to claim it would ration care, impose standards and prevent certain kinds of treatment. But as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, “CER is a recommendation, not a mandate.”
Or perhaps Scherzer is referring to basic Medicare billing fraud. But presumably he had to provide proper documentation for Medicare services provided before the President signed the bill into law. The new law simply strengthens these accountability measures to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse.
Like the Florida urologist, Scherzer may not be aware of what’s actually in the law. In fact, if he stays in business, Scherzer has the opportunity to perhaps reduce his anxiety level with added benefits such as an “increase in Medicaid payment rates.” Moreover, the American Medical Association has an extensive list of benefits for physicians that will come from the Affordable Care Act, including bonus payments and geographic payment differentials.