ORIENT: Uncle Sam exacts penalty for quitting Medicare – Washington Times:

Should people be allowed to leave Medicare? This is a real question, not a rhetorical one. Even though Medicare is said to be highly popular, indispensable and a great boon to American seniors, some people really want out.


Believe it or not, some do – for timeliness, personalized attention or privacy. Or, increasingly, because doctors just won’t offer care under Medicare conditions. There’s the annual American Medical Association (AMA) campaign to postpone the automatic Clinton-Gingrich sustained-growth-rate (SGR) fee cuts. There’s a scary new cartoon villain: Big Bad SGR Man attacking grandma.


The fact is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) apparently wants to trap Medicare beneficiaries on the sinking ship. It is acting as though American citizens, once they sign up for Medicare
Part B, are not allowed to buy a “covered” service from a physician who
does not file a claim for it. The government is having to borrow 40
cents out of every dollar it spends, but it still threatens physicians
with a fine of $2,000 for turning down government money – at least if
they accept any payment from the patient.

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