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“Cuts Leave Patients With Medicaid Cards, but No Specialist to See” – NYTimes

The New York Times reports:

“Having a Medicaid card in no way assures access to care,” said Dr. James B. Aiken, an emergency physician in New Orleans. …

“My Medicaid card is useless for me right now,” Ms. Dardeau said over lunch. “It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.” …

With the expansion of Medicaid to cover nearly all people under 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the official poverty level (up to $29,330 a year for a family of four), Medicaid will soon be the nation’s largest insurer. It accounts for almost half of the increase in coverage expected under Mr. Obama’s health law, but has received less attention than other parts of the law regulating private insurance. …

To hold down costs [spending], it has cut Medicaid payments to doctors, dentists, hospitals and other health care providers several times in the last two years. …

Dr. Kim A. Hardey, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Lafayette, said he received about $1,000 from the Louisiana Medicaid program for providing prenatal care and delivery for a full-term pregnancy, compared with $2,400 from private insurance.

With the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, he said, more of his patients will be on Medicaid, and fewer will have private insurance, which helps offset the financial losses doctors sustain on their Medicaid business.

Already, Dr. Hardey said, many of his patients have jobs with private insurance but switch to Medicaid when they become pregnant, avoiding premiums, deductibles and co-payments.

More: Cuts Leave Patients With Medicaid Cards, but No Specialist to See – NYTimes.com.

If government continues to immorally force taxpayers to fund Medicaid at least its co-payments, premiums, and deductibles should be higher.

(Via FIRM)