30% of Doctors Will Refuse to Treat New Medicaid Patients

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Bad news for President Barack Obama’s healthcare law: Almost one-third of doctors say they won’t take new Medicaid patients.
As part of Obama’s reform plan, the government wants to significantly expand the number of Americans on Medicaid. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, but struck down the Medicaid expansion requirement for states, it was Republican governors who appeared to be a big stumbling block to increasing Medicaid eligibility.
Now, it’s physicians, too, because payments to these providers are being cut in order to maintain services.
Sandra Decker, an economist with the National Center for Health Statistics, found that 69% of doctors anwsering the 2011 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey replied they would take new Medicaid patients. That leaves another 31% who won’t — a far larger number than those who don’t accept private health insurance (19%) or Medicare (17%).
Decker said in her paper that doctors in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement rates were more likely to reject these new patients. One example cited was New Jersey, where only 30% of physicians will see new patients on Medicaid.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
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