Linking to this New York Times story, James Taranto wrote here earlier this week about the tangled fate of Obamacare in Arkansas. Coincidentally, Dr. Samuel Vallery wrote us from Hot Springs, Arkansas with a personal take:
I am long time reader of Power Line. I am a 51 year old, solo ENT specialist, practicing in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have been in practice here for 19 years. I have watched with horror, as the Obama administration and Democrat congressional colleagues have steamrolled this nation with Obamacare.
When the state of Arkansas decided to take money from the federal government to dramatically expand Medicaid enrollment and to also create the “private option,” I decided that I was going to swim upstream, and refuse to see any of those patients. In my area, Blue Cross/Blue Shield has contracted with the Feds. What they have done is roll Obamacare (the “private option”) and Medicaid into the Blue Cross “TrueBlue” PPO. A large number of private, otherwise insured patients are also in this PPO.
The plan is to force Arkansas physicians to take Medicaid/Obamacare patients at ridiculously reduced reimbursement rates. If a physician wants to keep seeing private “TrueBlue” PPO patients, he/she must also accept the rolled in Obamacare/Medicaid patients, as well. The only way out of being included in Obamacare is to send a registered letter to BCBS, and resign from the entire PPO. As far as I know, I am the only physician in my area who has done this, so far.
I have recently moved into a small, 1300 square foot leased space, and I have cut my staff down to one full time employee, and two part time employees. I hope to be able to survive on cash patients, a few other smaller private insurance plans, and “out of network” patients. In addition to dropping the large Blue Cross PPO, I have also opted out of Medicare, and only see those patients on a cash pay basis. I have included an attachment of a photo of my billboard that went up here in town a few days ago, as well as a link to my Web site, where my cash prices are listed for all to see.
I can only hope that more physicians will take the same steps that I have taken, and that patients will educate themselves and understand that paying cash for “out of network” medical care is a better option than staying within limited networks that benefit insurance companies and large hospital corporations that own their salaried, hired physicians.
The photo Dr. Vallery has forwarded is below. We thank Dr. Vallery for his message and for his permission to post it on Power Line.
UPDATE: A reader writes to provide the following information: “There is an organization, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, that is fighting Obamacare every way it can. They provide information to doctors interested in going cash only. They have been around for a long time. I have signed up for their email updates. Here is the link to their website for those interested in what they are doing. On their home page you will see links to Heritage and Cato, and they have joined in an amicus brief re Hobby Lobby.”