PARADISE, Calif. - A Paradise doctor found himself in the middle of a Washington beltway controversy. He was quoted in a story which claimed that as many as 70 percent of California physicians will boycott Obamacare.
Dr. Richard Thorp is a primary care physician in Paradise, but he's also the President of the California Medical Association.
In a story published by the Washington Examiner, writer Richard Pollock wrote that as many as 70 percent of the CMA's doctors, which represents approximately one third of the state's 104,000 physicans, plan to boycott Covered California, the state's exchange of Obamacare. Dr. Thorp was cited as the source of that information, he says erroneously.
"There is no organized boycott of doctors in California against the Covered California plan," said Thorp.
Organized boycott or not, Thorp said many California doctors he's spoken with can not afford to be a part of Covered California. He said the rates that insurance companies are offering doctors to get on the exchange are too low.
"For many doctors they're asking for a 30 percent discount of your current contracted rates," said Thorp. "That, for most doctors, is unsustainable."
Thorp said it's unsustainable because the lower rates won't cover the cost of overhead and salaries that keep a staff of 55 employed at his medical practice.
"What they really want to do it take care of these folks who need care. But at some point it has to be whether or not they can make ends meet."
Thorp said at these lower rates some doctors would be forced to close their doors.
Dr. Thorp, who has been practicing for 38 years, is a little concerned that he and his medical brethren may be viewed as greedy.
But he asserts, they can't provide their services for free or at a loss, which he claims Obamacare has the potential to do.
As for the idea of an organized boycott by doctors against Covered California, Thorp said that's unlikely. He said each doctor will make up his or her mind.
As of now, his office says it can not afford to accept the rates that insurance companies through the exchange provide.