Thursday, July 3, 2008

Not just law firms are consolidating. Will the average guy be squeezed out of the market again?

First we had Staubach and JLL. Now the rumors are GVA and Colliers joining forces. I understand the whole concept of one stop shopping, but I think this can go too far.

Are real estate pros going to end up like accounting firms, where you have a couple of large firms and a bunch of small ones? It sure seems that way.

What worries me is the little guy being squeezed out of effective representation in the marketplace. It is already happening in the legal profession and it could happen in others as well.

It may even happen in the medical profession, so be afraid. For instance:

The Associated Press reports in an article that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will hold physicians Medicare claims for services furnished on or after July 1, 2008. According to the article, the holding of claims is intended to temporarily delay the implementation of the 10.6 percent reduction in the Medicare payment rate for physician services until Congress returns from the July 4 recess and has time to address the scheduled payment cut.
So, doctors stop getting reimbursed for the ostensible reason that the 106% cut will be rescinded. Yeah, right. There's government efficiency (one of my favorite oxymorons) hard at work for you. What might doctors do? I read an email the other day suggesting that doctors simply take their low reimbursing insurance patients -- such as Medicare -- and lump them all into brief clinic visits at limited hours on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that the doctors can spend the lion's share of time working on paying patients. (Sorry, I know this is off topic, but it is important!)

It may seem unfair, but think about it. If you have two people asking for your professional time -- one who pays and the other who does not -- whose call will you take? I thought so.

Will this happen in the legal and real estate professions? Probably not. The average person just won't have access to the system. But still: be afraid.

2 comments:

Mark McGlothlin said...

Dave, I just found your blog on a link from Jeff over the BawldGuy Talking. Looks like a great site.

About the Medicare issues - I'm a retired physician now running a real estate market data company - the Medicare system just gets crazier and crazier. I know that's not the thrust of the article, but exemplifies your point well.

David Stejkowski said...

Mark:

Thanks. While I am not a physician I am married to one, and although she is not a Medicare provider I see and hear about this too much to be comfortable.

 
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