Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012
This Week's News
This Week's News
Physicians urge Congress to maintain Medicaid's new primary care pay rates
A letter sent to Congress last week by the AMA and more than 250 other physician organizations presses lawmakers to oppose proposals to eliminate a Jan. 1 increase in Medicaid physician payments for primary care.
"Elimination of this policy further burdens the already challenged Medicaid system of today," the groups wrote in the letter.
Physicians in primary care, including many subspecialists in internal medicine and pediatrics, are scheduled to see a payment increase in many states beginning Jan. 1. Under a rule recently finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicaid programs would be prevented from paying for Medicaid primary care services at rates below those for Medicare.
But as Congress continues to look for ways to cut back spending, many lawmakers are calling for repeal of the two-year pay increase before it has a chance to take effect.
"Over the past few years, our nation has taken significant steps toward improving access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured," the letter explains. "A principle part of this effort has been the investment in primary care as the foundation of our nation's health care system."
Historically low Medicaid payment rates, often below the cost of providing care, have prevented many physicians from participating in the Medicaid program, resulting in limited access to primary care for many low-income families.
The letter underscores the importance of investing in primary care to improve access to care, enhance the quality of care and lower overall health care costs.
Take a moment to urge your members of Congress to stand behind the Medicaid primary care payment increase. Send them an email through the AMA's Physician Grassroots Network today.