By Michael Ollove
A temporary bump in Medicaid fees paid to primary care doctors, an Affordable Care Act provision intended to get more physicians to accept Medicaid patients, will expire at the end of this month.
Congress did not extend the higher rates, so unless states take action themselves or the new Congress revisits the issue, primary care doctors in Medicaid will see their fees fall by an average of nearly 43 percent starting in January, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Unless action is taken primary care doctors in Medicaid will see their fees fall by an average of nearly 43 percent starting in January.
“It’s expiring before it’s been evaluated,” said Sandra Decker, a researcher at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Decker, who has published widely on the Medicaid physician workforce, said she will analyze the impact of the fee increase, but doubts her results will be complete before the end of next year.
Still, she noted, past evidence indicates that Medicaid pay increases spur participation by physicians. She predicted that the lower fees will make it harder for Medicaid patients to find doctors willing to see them or that they will have to endure long waits to see doctors who accept Medicaid patients.