A Preview of Obamacare

While the Left is busy telling us there are no death panels in the health care bills, perhaps they'd like to defend the death panel we already have with us --namely, the one in the stimulus bill that gives HHS enormous regulatory power over health care.

To wit, beginning New Year's Day, Medicare will eliminate consultation service codes. Read about the different kinds of codes here if you have the patience, but essentially that means that in an effort to attract more GPs (which we do need), Medicare is going to stop reimbursing specialists as specialists and instead will pay every doctor only a base fee for a 20-minute visit. Cardiologists and oncologists will be reiumbursed as if they were standard GPs doing standard GP visits, even though in fact --being specialists-- they are seeing the sickest people, for longer periods of time in order to properly evaluate them, and often with much more expensive equipment and materials necessary.

Dr. Bob explains how that will work. Just like the not reimbursing for mammograms, pretty much:
The inevitable outcome of these changes are that Medicare patients will have reduced access to specialists, as specialists increasingly are unable to afford taking a loss on every Medicare patient they see due to reimbursements which fall below their costs of providing care. They will by necessity reduce the number of Medicare patients specialists see, or force them to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether, resulting in longer waits to see a specialist and regional shortages of care in these areas. One does not need “death panels” to make policy changes which restrict care to the elderly and disabled; quiet bureaucracy works every bit as well, with the added advantage of plausible deniability.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid's "no public option" "deal" is actually a back-door government takeover of health care worse than the original bill.

Sigh. I remember the old days, when Democrats came to office by threatening that Republicans would cut Medicare for the elderly and disabled. How do they get away with blatantly doing such things?