Blog | Wednesday, October 2, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Half of internists to accept Medicaid patients

Half of all internists intend to accept at least some Medicaid patients, a nonscientific survey done by ACP Internist reported.

Among the respondents, who voted online throughout September, 3% intend to start accepting Medicaid patients, 29% plan to continue to do so, and 18% will do so on a limited basis, such as a percentage of their panel. The other half of respondents said they are still considering whether to do so (6%), do not accept them (40%) or picked “other” (4%).

Half. Half of internist will accept Medicaid, and half the states intend to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, as ACP Internist’s cover story for the month of October 2013 reports.

Some doctors and hospitals pushed hard to get the issue through legislatures across the country. But politics played a role in some states’ choices not to expand their programs, as did ideological opposition to “Obamacare.” A beltline of southern states may be hit the hardest, because the ACA reduces Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, the article notes.

And as ACP’s Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, Robert B. Doherty, points out in his column, several states with disproportionately large numbers of poor uninsured, including Texas, are not on board. As a result, 2 out of every 3 Americans who were supposed to get coverage through Medicaid will be left behind. But even in California, which adopted it, state budget problems are a cause for fiscal concerns.

And physicians may gladly accept expanded Medicaid now, but find it less lucrative in the future, when some patients get private health insurance instead, and when the expanded medicaid programs expire further down the road.

Let us know how changes to Medicaid are affecting your practice in the comments below.