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Doctors are becoming less inclined in taking more Medicaid patients

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News that doctors are increasingly not accepting new Medicaid patients, due to Obamacare, was reported on Tuesday by Jerome R. Corsi of WND who cited statements by the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation based on a survey conducted by a national physician search and consulting firm.

In the report, the survey revealed that fewer than half, 45.7 percent of physicians surveyed, are willing to accept new Medicaid patient, putting lower-income consumers at a disadvantage, the same people the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was supposed to help but will not and will only make it worse.

Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search and consulting firm, conducted the survey and a company of AMN Healthcare, the survey of 1,399 medical offices tracks the average time needed to schedule a new patient doctor appointment in 15 large metropolitan areas. The survey reports average new patient doctor appointment wait times in five different medical specialties that include cardiology, dermatology, bstetrics/gynecology, orthopedic surgery and family practice.

The survey revealed that on average, it took over 45 days to schedule a new patient doctor appointment in the Boston area, the longest in any large metropolitan area.

“Finding a physician who can see you today, or three weeks from today, can be a challenge, even in urban areas where there is a high ratio of physicians per population,” said Mark Smith, president of Merritt Hawkins. “The demand for doctors is simply outstripping the supply.”

Phillip Miller, Vice President for communications for Merritt Hawkins told WND, “Low-income people are going to end up being pushed more and more into hospital emergency rooms for more accessible care, and they will go to community health care services that treat indigent populations,” he said. “But mostly, it’s going to be standing in line a lot more to get medical care.”

The warnings concerning the Medicaid dilemma have been forthcoming for several years and Congress and the Obama administration isn’t listening.

In November 2012, Kevin Dayaratna of the Heritage Foundation said, “Academic literature has consistently illustrated that Medicaid patients, adults and children have inferior access to health care and notably poorer health outcomes, than privately insured patients. Due to the program's low reimbursement rates, more and more doctors are refusing to even accept Medicaid.”

“As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Medicaid patients to find access to primary and specialty care physicians. When Medicaid patients are admitted to hospitals, they are often admitted with more serious conditions than those with private insurance. By further expanding this broken program, Obamacare will only exacerbate the situation, continuing to harm many low-income Americans who have no option other than Medicaid. Policymakers should reform Medicaid to allow Medicaid patients access to private insurance in a consumer-driven market.”

Dayaratna pointed to a study that Congress needs to repeal Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion. One of Obamacare’s greatest pretenses is that it improves access to health care. The new law attempts to achieve this goal by dumping millions more patients into the broken Medicaid system. Recent Heritage Foundation research has statistically illustrated the debilitating effect that Medicaid expansion will impose on state governments.

In Georgia alone, spending could increase by $200 million in the first five years and by $500 million by 2022 under the ACA. However, if the match rate is lowered for the expansion population, costs could jump to $1.2 billion in the first five years, something that Georgia and other states cannot sustain.

Medicaid is a prime example of government’s inability to outperform—or even keep up with—the private sector. Academic research has consistently illustrated that the program is associated with poorer access to care and poorer health outcomes than private insurance,” Dayaratna said.

“With the right reforms, however, lawmakers can significantly expand Medicaid patients’ access to private health insurance and put low-cost, high-quality care back in the hands of those truly in need.”

In 2011, the Heritage Foundation outlined its own plan that neither Congress nor President Obama has embraced, that would fix the problem of runaway spending, cutting the federal debt, and reforming healthcare.

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