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Hawaii bill would make doctors treat Medicare patients

Hawaii lawmakers are introducing a bill to require all doctors practicing in Hawaii to treat Medicare patients.

Democratic House Speaker Joe Souki introduced the bill Friday, saying it would ensure that all people get medical treatment, regardless of their income. Souki says that if passed, physicians who refused to take Medicare patients wouldn't be able to reapply for their state medical license, which must be renewed every two years.

Souki says he expects push back from physicians who complain about Medicare's low reimbursement rates.

Hawaii's Medicare enrollment data shows a 30 percent increase from 2010 to 2012 in the number of seniors relying on Medicare for health insurance.

A 2012 study published in the journal Health Affairs shows that 69 percent of Hawaii doctors accept Medicare patients.


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