From the Washington Post:
Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you're a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks. How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he'll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District's Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients. "It's not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don't stay in business," she said. Doctors across the country describe similar decisions, complaining that they've been forced to shift away from Medicare toward higher-paying, privately insured or self-paying patients in response to years of penny-pinching by Congress.
In certain ways, Medicare has been doing a much better job controlling costs than private health insurers - so good, in fact, that the differential in payment rates between Medicare and private insurance is becoming unsustainable. (This is a real problem for folks who discover that their doctors aren't taking Medicare because there is not a large enough reimbursement.) From Tyler Cowen:
Further reforms will be required more quickly than had been anticipated, but it's not obvious how such reforms should proceed. It's hard to either upgrade the Medicaid (and Medicare) rates or to downgrade the private insurance rates. Monitor this one closely, because it is likely to prove the breaking point of our health care status quo, with or without the Obama plan. (This is our version of the ticking time bomb within the eurozone, namely that natural rates of growth split apart a distortion, increasingly, over time.).