One-Third of Doctors Do Not Accept New Medicaid Patients

A new government study finds one-third of doctors do not accept new Medicaid patients. Most of the doctors cited low reimbursement as the reason, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act ruled that states could decide whether or not they wanted to participate in the health care law’s Medicaid expansion.

The study of 4,326 doctors found while 31 percent were not taking new Medicaid patients, 18 percent were not taking new patients with private insurance, and 17 percent were not taking new Medicare patients.

The researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics reported in the journal Health Affairs that they found a wide variation among states. For example, almost 60 percent of doctors in New Jersey said they would not accept new Medicaid patients, while almost all doctors in Wyoming did accept them. Doctors in metropolitan areas and smaller practices were less likely to take new Medicaid patients.

The new health law provides higher Medicaid reimbursements in 2013 and 2014, which might temporarily ease the problem of finding doctors who accept patients covered by the government program, the authors note.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July found that fewer people die when states expand their Medicaid programs.

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