Just How Low Are Medicaid Reimbursement Rates?
USA Today’s Richard Wolf has a very fair and educational piece in October 19ths USA Today on how Medicaid, S-CHIP expansion plan could hurt states’ budgets. Wolf does an admirable job not only detailing how White House sponsored health reform would bankrupt states, but he also reports on how patients in the Medicaid program still find it hard to access health care. Wolf reports:
Many parts of the country already face an acute shortage of general practitioners, 35% of whom did not accept new Medicaid patients last year, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change. House legislation would require states to raise Medicaid payment rates to doctors, but Senate legislation would not.
“There has to be improved payment for what primary care physicians make, or they will make a very simple business decision that they can’t afford to take on those patients,” says Ted Epperly, American Academy of Family Physicians’ chairman.
This is all true, but readers may still wonder just how much lower doctors are paid by Medicaid. As Heritage Foundation fellow Dennis Smith notes, depending on the state, Medicaid pays providers 20-25 percent less than does the private sector.