Two Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday that would boost Medicaid provider reimbursement rates back to Medicare levels -- part of an Obamacare provision that was supposed to be temporary.
|Scooped by Texas Medical Association|
A Medicaid card does not access make. Inadequate physician payment rates have forced many physician practices to limit their Medicaid and CHIP participation or cease it altogether. Medicaid payments are the least competitive among all insurers, ranging from 48 percent to 87 percent of Medicare and 41 percent to 73 percent of commercial insurance payments. These rates are hardly enticing, particularly when many practices can barely keep up with demand for their services from better paying privately insured patients.
According to TMA’s biennial physician survey, in 2000 67 percent of Texas physicians accepted all new Medicaid patients. Today, that number is 34 percent. The good news is that increasing physician Medicaid payments actually reverses the decline in participation. From 2012 to 2014, physician participation in Medicaid rose 5 points, a jump attributable to the temporary two-year primary care physician rate increase paid for with federal funds. Similarly, in 2008, physician participation also increased after Texas lawmakers invested new monies to improve the physician Medicaid network.
Unfortunately, the recent federal funding to increase primary care physician payments expired December 31. Without the higher payments, our organizations fear that physician Medicaid participation will again enter free fall. Physicians support Medicaid and want to participate. Yet, as owners of small businesses, facing ever more costly and demanding federal and state regulatory burdens, many just cannot afford to stay in a program that pays less than half their costs.