Two-thirds of Illinois doctors accepting Medicare could stop doing so by the first of the year, warns the president of the Illinois State Medical Society. Dr. Wayne Polek says a $300 billion tab has been growing for years. The plan, formulated in 1997, aimed to reduce Medicaid payments little by little each year to help reduce entitlement program spending, but it didn’t work out, as lawmakers kept pushing the cuts back.
Polek says it’ll be bad news if all the delayed cuts come at once. “These cuts, if they come through, are going to be disastrous,” he says. “The other issue, too, is over the past 10 years the amount of reimbursement we’ve gotten has declined over the past 10 years. If you’re looking at medical inflation, that’s gone up by a third.” Polek is worried the cuts will happen this year as dialogue about entitlement cuts gets heated. He’s hoping the so-called congressional super-committee will write it off as just part of the national debt.