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Obamacare Relies On Medicaid Expansion But 1 In 3 Doctors Won’t Take Medicaid Patients‏

August 9th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal reports, “About one in three doctors across the country doesn’t accept new patients who are covered by Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program that is supposed to enroll millions more low-income Americans as part of the Obama administration’s health overhaul, according to a new government study. Some 31% of physicians in a sample of 4,326 said they wouldn’t accept Medicaid beneficiaries, economist Sandra Decker of the National Center for Health Statistics reported in an article in the journal Health Affairs published Monday. Most of the doctors cited the low reimbursement from Medicaid.”

The Journal points out, “The health law passed by Democrats in March 2010 was supposed to expand coverage to around 16 million low-income people by signing them up for Medicaid. The Supreme Court decision in June effectively gave states the chance to opt out of the expansion. It isn’t yet clear how many will do so, although it’s likely to be a hot political issue. Either way, the coverage gained by low-income Americans could be less useful if they are unable to find a doctor to see them. Researchers in the new study found a wide variation among states. In New Jersey, nearly 60% of doctors said they wouldn’t accept new patients with Medicaid coverage. In other states, such as Wyoming, almost all doctors did accept Medicaid patients. Smaller practices and doctors in metropolitan areas were less likely than other doctors to take new Medicaid patients.”

Not only is it likely that people pushed into the Medicaid system by Obamacare won’t be able to find a doctor accepting new patients, states aren’t sure they can even pay for expanding the program. Democrat Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said back in March, “I have no idea how we’re going to pay for it.” Democrat Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer fretted, “I’m going to have to double my patient load and run the risk of bankrupting Montana…” And even Democrat California Gov. Jerry Brown wrote to President Obama last year, “We will be further disadvantaged under the Medicaid expansions mandated under the Affordable Care Act … proposals to shift several billion dollars in Medicaid costs to California would be devastating and would clearly move us in the wrong direction.”

As Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), a doctor, told reporters at a press conference last week, “[W]e saw . . . in a front page story in The New York Times on Sunday, a report that said under this health care law it’s going to be harder to obtain medical care. And even in the first paragraph of the article it says what I’ve been saying for the last two years, there is a difference between coverage and care. . . . [With] this huge expansion of Medicaid, what they’re finding is that now over half of the family physicians, primary care physicians in this country are not taking new Medicaid patients. . . . Across the board, when they poll people about the health care law, as recently as two weeks ago the poll numbers continue to show that people believe that this health care law is, number one, bad for the economy and number two, it is bad for them personally. We need to repeal and replace this health care law.

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: Long-Term Optimism About U.S. Economy Falls to New Low

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