Mayo Clinic Refuses to Take Medicare; Is This the Shape of Things to Come?

The Mayo Clinic’s facilities in Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona, will cease to accept Medicare patients.

In essence the Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s preeminent private hospitals, says that it is losing its shirt with Medicare patients.  The Phoenix and Scottsdale Mayo Clinics service a high number of retirees with Medicare.

Is this the shape of things to come under Obamacare?  The Obama White House says that Medicare is the model system for its national healthcare system.  However, one of the nation’s medical leaders says “enough is enough” with Medicare.

What does this say about Medicare?  What does this say about the proposed revolution to the healthcare system?  If the mighty Mayo Clinic is losing tons of money on Medicare reimbursements, then this bespeaks poorly about Medicare and a proposed national health care system.  If the Mayo Clinic must say no to Medicare, then will not other great medical institutions follow?  Is New York Presbyterian Hospital next?   And what about the small, struggling community hospitals?

The Mayo Clinic is not alone.  Many private physicians either limit the number of their Medicare patients or refuse them altogether.  One of our clients, a doctor, will not take any further Medicare patients than the few that she is treating.  Some doctors will not accept Medicare.  Period.

We recommend that Congress carefully consider the impact of a healthcare bill.  We may end up with major hospitals and doctors refusing not only Medicare, but other forms of  government mandated insurance.

Mark E. Seitelman, 1/4/10,


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