Doctors representing four major physician organizations met with Congress on October 27, 2014 to urge them to preserve the current law of payment parity for primary care and immunization services under Medicaid that is set to expire at the end of this year. The law mandates that doctors treating Medicaid patients be paid the same as what doctors treating Medicare patients with the same procedures are paid.
Representatives Meet with Congress to Support Medical Parity Bill
Representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American College of Physicians (ACP) and American Osteopathic Association (AOA) met with dozens of congressional offices on Capitol Hill in support of a bill sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act (S.2694), which would extend Medicaid-Medicare payment parity for two more years.
“Without congressional action to extend Medicaid parity with Medicare, primary care physicians will see an abrupt cut to Medicaid payments for the care they provide to low-income families,” said AAFP President Robert Wergin, MD, FAAFP.
Doctors Faced with Cuts May Need to Limit Number of Medicaid Patients
An April 2014 ACP-member survey found that, of the respondents who indicated they had enrolled in the payment parity program through their state Medicaid programs, 46 percent would accept fewer Medicaid patients in 2015 or drop out of Medicaid entirely in 2015 if the program was allowed to expire on Dec. 31, 2014.
When patients cannot find a physician who accepts new Medicaid patients, they face the same access problems as those who have no insurance. Patients without access to a physician must then turn to hospitals for emergency care, shifting the financial burden to those facilities.