The president of the Iowa Medical Society is at the national “doctor’s convention” in Chicago. Dr. Jose Angel says among top concerns of Iowa physicians at the A-M-A conference is the loss of malpractice insurance. He says it’s a liability crisis, as many doctors have to leave their practice because of skyrocketing insurance premiums. Angel says Iowa also suffers because of a formula used by federal Medicare administrators to calculate how much “providers” will be paid for giving health care to the poor.Since the gross national product went down, that formula would cut Medicare rates five-point-four percent. That would set Iowa’s healthcare reimbursement rate below that of 1993, if it goes into effect. Dr. Angel says there are too few doctors in the state and that means patients have to wait weeks or months for routine tests and procedures. He says Iowa has the 45th-worst ratio of doctors to patients of any state, and the 49th-worst ratio of pediatricians to patients, and he blames that directly on low Medicare reimbursement. Dr. Angel says that’s also the reason why doctors aren’t coming to Iowa to set up new practices. He says doctors who settle in Iowa have to work harder and earn less, and if they’re not native Iowans they don’t want to stay just for the quality of life.
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