A medical association is protesting a state bill that would force health care professionals and facilities to treat patients who are funded by Medicaid or have no insurance.
That amount to “involuntary servitude for medical professionals,” charges the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
The New Hampshire bill, sponsored by Rep. P. Schmidt, levy a $10,000 annual fee for noncompliance.
The AAPS said the bill, HB 693-FN, requires the commissioner “to conduct an annual audit of health care practitioners and facilities, including outpatient facilities.”
The ratio of Medicaid and uninsured procedures to other compensated procedures is then calculated to determine any fees.
“A practitioner can pay a fee of $10,000, or a facility can pay $10,000 per full-time professional staff equivalent to opt out of the requirement,” the doctors’ group said.
“It’s reminiscent of the provision in some parts of the antebellum South that allowed slaves to buy their freedom,” stated AAPS executive director Jane Orient, M.D.
“The $10,000 annual fee is likely to be less than the revenue lost by accepting Medicaid payment rates,” stated AAPS president Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D. “What if everybody opts out? The state would have money but no facilities to treat patients.”
The bill, significantly, fails to define “health care practitioner,” Orient noted.
“New Hampshire seems to be anticipating the problem that arises when politicians promise free health care for all,” Orient suggested. “Who will do the work?”
The bill says its objective is to require health care practitioners to provide services for Medicaid and uninsured.
It sets up a fund to collect that annual $10,000 penalties from doctors, and the money is to be distributed as aid to qualified individuals based on the assessments of the commissioner of the state Department of Health.
It exempts doctors who are retired, but states otherwise, “All health care practitioners and facilities shall provide services for patients funded by Medicaid and uninsured persons.”
The bill promises an increase in state revenue because of the penalties, but it admits it has no idea what the amount will be.