Cynical Synapse

Fri, 19 Feb 2010

Granholm’s Physician Tax a Sick Idea

Filed under: Budget, Economy, Government, Medicine, Michigan, Politics, Take action, Taxes — cynicalsynapse @ 4:58 pm

Healthcare crisis

Forgive me, but I’m not quite understanding this. According to the freep, Michigan has a shortage of critical care doctors. To make matters worse, almost half of Michigan’s 40,000 doctors plan to retire in the next 10 years. Gov. Granholm (D) proposed a 3% tax on physician gross receipts as part of her 2010-11 budget plan. That’s on top of income and business taxes they pay just like the rest of us. If you were a doc, would you stay or start a practice in Michigan under those conditions?

Now leaving Michigan

In an effort to reverse the shortage, Michigan has a program that helps primary care physicians repay medical school loans if they work in under-served areas. Except now the program is on hold because of budget issues. Oakland and Central Michigan Universities are standing up medical schools. Michigan State is expanding its medical school to Grand Rapids. That means Michigan will graduate more doctors in the years to come. There is little to encourage them to stay in Michigan to practice, however.

Another reason doctors may leave Michigan is the skyrocketing numbers of Medicaid patients. Medicaid has a lower reimbursement rate than private insurance. Michigan’s Medicaid rolls have ballooned 53% in the last 10 years. That’s not surprising, considering Michigan has the highest unemployment in the country at 14.6%. One in 6 Michigan residents are eligible for Medicaid.

The physician tax was a bad idea last October and it’s a bad idea now. Urge your state representative and state senator to throw the physician tax out with the bathwater.

Previously on Michigan’s 2011 budget:

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