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Texas Doctors Might Drop Medicaid

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texas medicaidMedicaid patients aren’t popular among doctors, who receive state-subsidized fees significantly lower than traditional market value for their services.  And with provider fees being trimmed another one percent on September 1st, the amount of doctors accepting Medicaid is expected to drop, damaging the state’s delivery of health care to the poor who rely on this form of Texas health insurance.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

The 1 percent trim to provider fees that starts Sept. 1 sounds modest. But doctors, insurance industry officials and health care experts widely see it as the first of many hits coming to doctors’ wallets as Texas’ fiscal woes deepen.  State leaders’ instructions for agencies to identify additional 10 percent budget cuts in the next two-year budget cycle mean more fee cuts may come next summer.

Industry experts believe that further budget reductions could drive doctors from the state and result in more patients seeking emergency room care.  This would be an inauspicious beginning to federal health care reform, which, starting in 2014 will create huge new demands for care by putting more poor adults and children on Medicaid.  This bit of legislation is conservatively estimated to add 1.5 million Texans to Medicaid by 2015.  The number currently stands at about three million.

Expanding the rolls of Medicaid while reducing doctor reimbursements simply won’t work, as fewer doctors will accept these patients.  At the same time, health care reform will expand Texas health insurance rosters in general without expanding the amount of medical professionals to service the newly insured.

Medicaid is a great resource for people who can’t afford traditional Texas health insurance plans, but without the necessary medical network to support these patients, expansion may overburden our already weakened state.

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