A huge pay raise under the Affordable Care Act for primary care doctors who treat the nation’s poor covered by Medicaid health insurance is set to expire at the end of the year.
And with Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate and retaining a majority in the U.S. House, maintaining the reimbursement increase is in doubt come January.
“Unless Congress acts to extend and fund this provision, Medicaid’s sudden return to disparate and inadequate payment for primary care services will again shut out people who have come to know and depend on their primary care physicians,” said Dr. Robert Wergin, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians. ”Without this legislation, Medicaid payment will plunge to 2012 levels — as much as 63 percent lower in some states.”
Under the health law, a primary care doctor – a family physician, a pediatrician or an internist – who treats Medicaid patients has been reimbursed to the generally higher level of the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly for scores of primary care services but only for 2013 and this year. A 2012 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study on the rate increases is here.