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Medicare Uncovered: How many doctors still take Medicare?

(Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review) How many doctors are really refusing to treat Medicare patients?...
[L]ast Wednesday, Dan Diamond of California Healthline contributed an interesting nugget to the discussion. Diamond was responding to a Wall Street Journal piece published the end of July, which made the case that docs are indeed increasingly leaving Medicare for the proverbial greener pastures of private-pay care—and which itself brought lots of studies and figures to the table…
[A]s Diamond writes: What the Journal didn’t report is that, per CMS, the number of physicians who agreed to accept Medicare patients continues to grow year-over-year, from 705,568 in 2012 to 735,041 in 2013.
And other providers aren’t turning down Medicare, either. The number of nurse practitioners participating in the program has only gone up, Jan Towers of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners told California Healthline.
The Journal story had plenty of caveats, but the overall framing and the front-page headline—“More doctors steer clear of Medicare”—put all the focus on the rise in the number of opt-out physicians. An increase in the number of participating physicians seems worthy of mention, too.
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