D.C. budget cuts will hurt Medicaid recipients
By K. Edward Shanbacker
The May 14 Metro story “D.C. jumps at health care savings” only told part of the story about how the D.C. government plans to save money. While no one can argue with the savings the District will reap by shifting low-wage residents from the city-9funded Healthcare Alliance plan to the Medicaid program, there is also every reason to believe the District’s 2011 Medicaid budget will reduce access.
Last year, the District increased Medicaid payment rates equal to Medicare rates to address serious and longstanding access problems for program recipients. It was a major step forward and resulted in new providers — doctors and others — entering the Medicaid program. Physicians in the District want their doors open to everyone needing care, but absent adequate payment, that is all too often just not feasible.
Now, the Fenty administration has proposed reducing already inadequate Medicaid payments to doctors by 20 percent. This will increase barriers to care for existing Medicaid recipients, and the new Medicaid enrollees from the Alliance plan may find that they have a card without a caregiver.
The writer is executive vice president of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia.
| May 18, 2010; 7:13 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, health care
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