Dreaming of a Medicaid Nightmare – Slate Magazine
Today, a little more than one-third of physicians report that they either limit the number of Medicaid patients in their practice or don’t see any at all. This, of course, can make it tricky for the program’s enrollees to get a doctor’s appointment. But the problem is not necessarily much worse for the Medicaid population than it is for low-earners with private health plans. A recent report by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which compared Americans whose incomes amounted to less than 138 percent of the poverty line, showed that 8 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries said they had to put off needed care because they couldn’t schedule a doctor’s visit soon enough. Among those with private coverage, 5.2 percent reported the same sort of trouble. This shouldn’t be so surprising, since cheap insurance plans keep costs down by offering narrow doctors’ networks that limit options for care. Meanwhile, Medicaid patients were actually less likely to say they put off care because of cost.