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  • Side Effects: Obamacare and a Physician Shortage Mean Reduced Access to Care Under Medicaid

    A main goal of Obamacare was to expand health care coverage in the United States, which it tries to achieve largely by adding 18 million more individuals to Medicaid. But health coverage does not always equate to access to care, which is already apparent in the Medicaid program. In light of an increasing physician shortage across the nation, the changes made by Obamacare will make it even harder for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive primary care.

    Medicaid patients already face an uphill battle trying to find physicians, since the program pays providers significantly less than private insurers and even Medicare. In many cases, reimbursement does not even cover the cost of providing services. Meanwhile, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists within the next 10 years. As the population ages, demand for health care providers will rise.

    A recent study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (CSHSC)looked at the effects of the large influx of new Medicaid patients on access to primary care physicians (PCPs). It concluded, “Medicaid PCP supply will likely increase the most in states that already have the largest PCP supply relative to the Medicaid population, while shortages of PCPs for Medicaid enrollees are likely to grow even worse in states that already have low Medicaid PCP supply.”

    In an attempt to address Medicaid beneficiaries’ difficulty in finding care, Obamacare increases federal Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care to match those of Medicare for two years. But this temporary fix will not solve the long-term problem.

    Moreover, the CSHSC found that “states that currently have the fewest number of PCPs relative to the population—primarily in the South and Mountain West—already have Medicaid reimbursement rates close to or exceeding Medicare rates and, therefore, will see relatively little impact from the increased Medicaid reimbursement rates.”

    Jessica Marcy writes for Kaiser Health News that these states “could struggle to provide medical services to the surge of new patients expected to enroll in Medicaid under the health overhaul and federal incentives may not provide much help.” CSHSC’s Alwyn Cassil drives home the point: “If you thought the increased Medicaid reimbursement was going to get a lot more docs to jump in and be willing to take on new Medicaid patients, it’s not going to work that way.”

    Rather than expand a broken system, Congress should have acknowledged that the program is not structurally sound. It already places an untenable financial burden on states and does not pay providers enough, resulting in low-quality care for those who depend on it. Unfortunately, Obamacare does not provide a permanent solution to these serious problems, instead exacerbating them.

    This post was co-authored by Meera Yogesh. Yogesh is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Side Effects: Obamacare and a Physician Shortage Mean Reduced Access to Care Under Medicaid

    1. Pingback: Side Effects: Obamacare and a Physician Shortage Mean Reduced Access to Care Under Medicaid | Big Propaganda

    2. Richard says:

      Those Still Working will be picking up the Tab for the Country. Don't Forget that the State / County / City UNIONS will be Exempt from paying the Cost of what the people will have to Pay.

      if you think its Bad Now Give it a year. OBOZO care will Kill this Country

    3. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Me Johnny One Note, I'm sorry. But my researches have shown that it is Diagnostic Medical Truth, being Mentally Ill, to believe as I do in the Half Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. I love Heritage Foundation! I haunt her like a ghost! I put a Right Wing spin on everything so as to wind up at that, my hobby horse, I Really Do Hate Communism! And what is there not to Hate? uh, hundreds of millions of dead people? Judge Vinson says they want Totalitarian Powers! So, yeah, I'm really 'out there!'

      Bumcare means I get free Mental Health! Pardon me if I am not thrilled! I believe in God! I hear voices! (we call it Sonic Memory ability) I do see a Commie behind every Post (if you mean Posted Officials of Government). I love the Constitution! Do you realize that is Diagnostic too! I am Five out of Five for Bi-Polar! Yeah! That's Official Diagnosis by APA Standards, and who is 'credible' under O-bum-a-care? The AMA and it's lap doggie, the APA! So far in sixty years I have escaped Diagnosis! (That's probably because 'I am not insane.' (#6)

      I screamed at Sec. Sebilius on the TV! (#7) When RINOs and DINOs appear together on Fox News (#8) I have uncontrollable outbursts! (#9) I have the compulsion to exercise my Free Speech (#10) on Heritage Foundation's website (#11). Don't worry about me! Under Obamacare, I will be just fine (#12).

    4. Mark Davis, MD says:

      Obamacare was written by lawyers with a complexity that is beyond the ken of most mortals to understand. Legislation 111-148, the core of Obamacare, has more penalties and sanctions than health initiatives. All lawyers will pray at the feet of Obama for his outright gift to them. Obamacare offers a multiplicity of avenues to sue anyone who does not fall in-line with its tenets. America's medical system needs a tuneup. Its legal system needs an overhaul.The Heritage Foundation is fraught with lawyers who make their money commenting on the work of other lawyers. Trusting the legal profession with our healthcare is a road map to disaster. Mark Davis, MD author of Demons of Democracy platosrun@yahoo.com

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