This message came out over the email waves a few days ago from the physicians at Illinois Bone & Joint, and it’s pretty much what everyone paying attention expected from ObamaCare. As the joints give out, the number of doctors available to replace them will shrink. Another definition of the problem: rationing via the Obama panel of (unelected) bureaucrats that Sarah Palin was so wrong to call Death Panels. If you have marginal cartilage in your knees or hips – and you don’t want to just swallow an aspirin for the pain or spend a few months in the free enterprise zone of Mumbai doing your surgery and physical therapy – better take their advice and get politically engaged with your “representatives” in Washington. Before it’s too late.

Illinois Bone & Joint Medicare Patient Alert

We understand how important it is to have the freedom to choose your own physicians when you need joint replacement care. Knowing that you’ve chosen the best doctor is essential to feeling comfortable and confident about a procedure that can dramatically change your life.

That’s why we want to inform you about pending changes in Medicare – changes that may limit your ability to choose the physician you trust most for hip and knee replacement surgery.

Here’s what’s happening.

This November, Medicare may severely cut the rate of 2014 payments to orthopedic surgeons for hip and knee replacement surgery. The result may be that fewer doctors will accept Medicare, which means that you may lose the choice of your preferred physician and may have to wait longer to receive care from someone else.

Unfortunately, current Medicare reimbursement rates are already low enough that physician offices everywhere are challenged to cover their costs. And so far, the debate on lowering reimbursement rates has been behind closed doors, leaving no time for physicians or patients to respond.

You can be heard and make a difference.  If you want to continue to see the orthopedist of your choice and believe there should be open dialogue on the issue, let your congressional representative or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) know.

There’s more to the message, but understand that the prognosis for joint repair is not too good.