In Push to Extend Medicaid Pay Bump, Docs Downplay ACA Link

Physician groups are lobbying hard to extend an Obamacare provision that requires state Medicaid programs to pay primary-care physicians at higher Medicare rates to improve access for Medicaid patients. But to persuade congressional Republicans to go along, they are downplaying the fact that the pay bump is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Physician groups are lobbying hard to extend an Obamacare provision that requires state Medicaid programs to pay primary-care physicians at higher Medicare rates to improve access for Medicaid patients. But to persuade congressional Republicans to go along, they are downplaying the fact that the pay bump is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders (PDF), a coalition of physician groups requested that a section of the Social Security Act that sets Medicaid payment rates for primary-care services at Medicare levels be continued for at least two years beyond its expiration on Dec. 31, 2014. Not extending the provision would hurt access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries, the doctors warn.

This is a way to obscure the fact that it's the ACA that amended the Social Security Act to increase Medicaid payments to doctors. Supporters of the extended rate-parity proposal believe this may improve the chances of getting Obamacare foes to go along, said Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “We needed to not make this a partisan issue,” Blackwelder said. “You mention the Affordable Care Act and some lawmakers draw lines in the sand. If you focus on the fact that this is about access to care for low-income patients, it's a different kind of conversation.”

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Source: Modern Healthcare