Take two aspirin and call me next year.  From the Washington Times, The doctor will see you (When and if we can find the money)

What happens in a government-run health care system when the money runs out for the year? Only two things can happen: Either the providers work for free or the patients wait until the new year…

In Phoenix, AZ, orthopedists at the VA work on the quota (rationing) system:

But in August, they were notified that they had reached their quota on work and would not be paid for any more care provided in 2009.

Perhaps the patients could be seen outside the VA at private clinics and offices? Unfortunately, few veterans seeking care at the VA have any benefits for nonemergency treatment anywhere but the VA.

The physicians were told they could work for free, make the patients wait until 2010, or perhaps some money could be found if they were willing to take an 80 percent pay cut.

Doctors damned if they do, and damned if they don”t:

If the doctor makes a rational decision not to give away his expertise and services for free for four months, some might call him “greedy” and more interested in money than patients. But think about it: How many of you would work for free from September through December this year? Is it really greedy to expect to be paid for work you do?

On the other hand, the doctor can decide to try to work something out so the patients can still get somewhat timely care by working for a massive discount. Again, the question would be: How many would be willing to work for only $2 when what is actually owed is $10?

If the doctor says, “See you in January,” the bureaucrats blame the provider. If the doctor is willing to donate some time this year, what are the chances that next year’s payments from the government will look a lot more like the reduced pay rate? Eventually, the doctor will leave the VA system for good, leaving the patients to fend for themselves either way. And the bureaucrats can claim their hands are clean…

Hey, it’s all about sacrifice.  For everybody but the bureaucrats.

More at the link.

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