Last updated on: 9/7/2010 | Author:

Will physicians be required to accept all Medicare patients?

PRO (yes)


[Editor’s Note: We have been unable to find any pros to this question, and if you know of any, please let us know. Sep. 2, 2010]

CON (no)


Joan Mazzolini, MA, general assignment reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote in her Mar. 25, 2010 article “Doctors Will Be Encouraged to Treat Medicare and Medicaid Patients: Health Care Fact Check”:

“The law doesn’t force doctors to take Medicare or Medicaid patients, though that typically has been a bigger problem for Medicaid recipients than for Medicare patients.

But the act does several things to encourage doctors to keep treating and to be more willing to take Medicare and Medicaid patients…”

Mar. 25, 2010


Joe Baker, JD, President of the Medicare Rights Center, answering a reader question for a July 19, 2010 Q&A titled “Answers About Medicare: Part 2,” posted on the New York Times‘ personal finance blog “Bucks,” stated:

“Providers of any status can refuse to take new Medicare patients at any time, although most continue to take new patients… Earlier this year [2010], some doctors stopped taking new Medicare patients because of a 21 percent reduction in payments that took effect June 1. Congress has since overturned the cut and prevented it from taking effect until the end of November, which has persuaded some of these doctors to resume taking new patients.

…[A]s a result of health reform, primary care doctors will receive 10 percent bonus payments in 2011. This could encourage the vast majority of doctors to continue taking new Medicare patients.”

July 19, 2010


Jennifer Brown, political reporter for the Denver Post, in her Aug. 27, 2010 article “Two University Hospital Clinics Balk at Government Insurance,” wrote:

“Many physicians across Colorado and the country have stopped taking Medicaid and Medicare patients in recent years because they say they are not reimbursed enough by those government plans…

Even the Mayo Clinic’s primary-care center in Scottsdale, Ariz. — one of the models for national health care reform — no longer takes Medicare patients.”

Aug. 27, 2010


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in their May 2010 booklet Medicare and Home Health Care, stated:

“In general, most Medicare-certified home health agencies will accept all Medicare patients. An agency isn’t required to accept a patient if it can’t meet the patient’s medical needs. An agency shouldn’t refuse to take a specific Medicare patient because of the patient’s condition, unless the agency would also refuse to take other patients with the same condition.”

May 2010