Noteworthy News

Medicaid Pay Bump Gone in Most States; Will it Affect Access?

The temporary increase in Medicaid provider fees for primary care services ended yesterday, leaving observers to wonder whether it will affect access to care for the nation’s growing Medicaid population.

The increase, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, raised Medicaid primary care rates to the same level as Medicare payments in the hope that more primary care providers would begin serving Medicaid patients in anticipation of significant growth in the Medicaid population.  Now that the two-year increase has ended, it is unclear whether providers who began serving Medicaid patients because of the increase will remain Medicaid providers and those who accepted more Medicaid patients will continue doing so.

iStock_000015640638XSmallBecause of the relatively short duration of the increase, little research has been completed to determine whether the raise made a difference in access, but some states believe it did:  a number will use their own money to continue the raises, which during the two-year experiment were paid entirely by the federal government.

Access to care has long been a major challenge for Medicaid patients in the communities served by most urban safety-net hospitals.

Kaiser Health News has taken a look at this issue and the potential implications of the end of the Medicaid pay raise; see its report here.

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