New Health Care Bill Cuts Medicare Reimbursement

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Things may be changing at your local doctor's office, but it may have a bigger impact on the doctors than the patients. Doctors are urging law makers to not cut Medicare reimbursement.

"A lot of doctors are on a cash only basis right now," Dr. Weldon Butler said.

Dr. Butler of Odessa says the new health care bill has got many doctors painted into a corner.

"With Medicare, we barely break even right now. It will make it a lot harder to see these patients," Dr. Butler said.

Congress cut a little over 21% from Medicare when the health care reform passed, now doctors say those recent cuts will hit hard in the Permian Basin.

"If we had to make a living on Medicare right now, I don't think we'd make it. It'll be hard to keep our staff," Butler said.
     
Other doctors like Richard Bartlett say there could be good coming out of this new health care bill.

"One thing I am hopeful about is that it will close the doughnut hole for senior citizens; that I'll take," Dr. Richard Bartlett said.

So far both doctors say they plan to continue to take Medicare patients until they can no longer afford to.

"I think we all need to wait and see, we're all just guessing at this point," Dr. Bartlett said.

The doctors NewsWest 9 spoke to say the new health care bill is very complicated, and they don't know yet what else will be affected.