Restoring Freedom of Contract between Doctor and Patient in Medicare Part B
- Author(s): David Bernstein
- Date Posted: 2015
- Law & Economics #: 15-44
- Legal Studies #: LS 15-34
- Availability: Full text (most recent) on SSRN
Despite promises that Medicare would not interfere with patients’ ability to choose their physician and to purchase additional health coverage on the open market, over the decades Medicare rules and regulations have gradually eroded senior citizens’ ability to control their healthcare choices. With Medicare facing financial and regulatory pressures that threaten to drive more and more physicians out of the system, it’s time for Congress to allow private contracting to play a significantly greater role in Medicare Part B. Congress should eliminate the limit on patients’ ability to negotiate fees with nonparticipating physicians, expand the scope of Medigap coverage to include services not covered by Medicare, and liberalize the rules for opt-out physicians.