Playing politics with patient access to care and physician practice viability is the ultimate insult to those of us who serve the populations medical needs (Payment cuts stand for now, June 30, p. 4). I have already closed my practice to new Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) patients over a 10% cut hitting that program on July 1, and am suffering the underpayments to San Diego doctors under geographic-practice-cost-index rules that treat us like a rural cow town in 2008 (more than $30 million in underpayments each year for our doctors in San Diego just from Medicare alone).
I will be asking new Medi-Cal patients to call their state legislators and the governors office to find an otolaryngologist to see them (good luck, as I was one of the last standing in this county to take Medi-Cal). If this nonsense on the federal level isnt stopped immediately, I think my colleagues and I will be handing out congressional representatives phone numbers for new Medicare callers as well. My local representative stood by us and voted for the House bill, and our California senators did the same. But Congress as a whole will need to feel the pressure from constituents to understand that this is not a partisan issue but rather about patients lives.