NYT: So, turns out that all of this Medicaid expansion actually might not necessarily mean more access…
posted at 3:01 pm on November 29, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
But now, as California’s Medicaid program is preparing for a major expansion under President Obama’s health care law, Dr. Mazer says he cannot accept additional patients under the government insurance program for a simple reason: It does not pay enough.
“It’s a bad situation that is likely to be made worse,” he said.
His view is shared by many doctors around the country. Medicaid for years has struggled with a shortage of doctors willing to accept its low reimbursement rates and red tape, forcing many patients to wait for care, particularly from specialists like Dr. Mazer.
Yet in just five weeks, millions of additional Americans will be covered by the program, many of them older people with an array of health problems. …
Community clinics, which typically provide primary but not specialty care, have expanded and hired more medical staff members to meet the anticipated wave of new patients. And managed-care companies are recruiting doctors, nurse practitioners and other professionals into their networks, sometimes offering higher pay if they improve care while keeping costs down. But it is far from clear that the demand can be met, experts say.
No kidding. Read on for the many discouraging ways in which increased Medicaid rolls are likely to result in reduced access, poor-quality healthcare, and added fuel to the fire of widespread doctor shortages — and yet the Obama administration is still adamantly pushing the remaining resistant states to expand Medicaid as a miracle drug for expanding healthcare access.
Medicaid enrollment has been going much more smoothly than ObamaCare’s general rollout; the CBO has projected that a full nine million American will sign up through various states’ Medicaid expansions next year alone; and even some states not expanding Medicaid are already seeing a jump in enrollments, probably due to the increased ObamaCare-related publicity. None of this, however, means that the system is suddenly equipped to handle the onslaught or that doctors will even want to take more Medicaid patients and deal with the program’s already notoriously poor reimbursement rates (as they do still have that choice… for now). ObamaCare might mean some form of insurance for all, but that insurance might not be the automatic favor for all that the Obama administration is determined to believe it is.