The more President Obama speaks off the cuff in the Great Health Care Debate, the less he seems to know. Recently, President Obama contended that surgeons are paid “$30,000, $40,000, $50,000” to amputate a foot. (Hit YouTube clip, above.) But, that doesn’t seem to be true. I looked up New York State’s Medicaid reimbursement fee for a foot amputation. Guess what? Surgeons fees for most amputation procedures are in the hundreds, not tens of thousands of dollars. Here’s an example from Med NY Physician Manual, (hit the “Fee Schedules Surgery” Link):
NYS Medicaid Physician Surgery Services Fee Schedule Effective Date: April 1, 2009
AMPUTATION, FOOT; MIDTARSAL (EG, CHOPART 335.31
AMPUTATION, FOOT; TRANSMETATARSAL 424.57
AMPUTATION, FOREARM, THROUGH RADIUS AND 459.98
AMPUTATION, FOREARM, THROUGH RADIUS AND 451.12
AMPUTATION, FOREARM, THROUGH RADIUS AND 403.46
AMPUTATION, FOREARM, THROUGH RADIUS AND 449.18
AMPUTATION, THIGH, THROUGH FEMUR, ANY LE 468.10
AMPUTATION, THIGH, THROUGH FEMUR, ANY LE 524.50
AMPUTATION, THIGH, THROUGH FEMUR, ANY LE 397.09
AMPUTATION, THIGH, THROUGH FEMUR, ANY LE 290.96
You get the picture. Now, unless the surgical fee schedule isn’t really the surgical fee schedule, that is a long way from $30,000, $40,000, or $50,000 to amputate a foot! And why isn’t the media fact checking the president? I mean, can you imagine if Bush had made such a huge mistake?
I have no doubt private insurance companies pay more than Medicaid for amputations, perhaps thousands more. But I truly doubt it is 100 times more! If anyone has any information on that, please let me know.
President Obama has a Web site to report “myths” being spread about health care: Physician–er, POTUS–heal thyself.