Georgia Physicians Troubled by Potential Medicaid Expansion
One of the state’s leading physician groups isn’t convinced a proposed Medicaid expansion would be a good idea for the state.
The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, but allowed states to opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion. If the state decides to expand, 600,000 additional enrollees are expected. It’s projected to cost the state more than $4 billion over 10 years.
The Medical Association of Georgia isn’t taking a position yet, but it’s fair to say the physician advocacy group is entering the debate highly skeptical.
“We do not believe expansion is financially sustainable especially with our state budget looking at a $400 million hole on Medicaid,” said MAG Executive Director Donald Palmisano.
He says there’s been a 15 percent drop in physician participation in Medicaid for a reason - doctors get paid about 75 percent of the true cost of care.
Even with a flood of federal dollars and a primary care payment bump built into the Affordable Care Act, Palmisano doesn’t see an expansion, in and of itself, being good for providers.
“By expanding another 600,000 additional patients into the system where the system itself does not cover the cost of providing the care, it only makes it that much more difficult for a physician to be able to accept those patients and remain financially viable.”
This past legislative session, the state raised physician Medicaid rates for the first time in years. It came a year after the legislature cut payment rates for physicians and implemented a tax on hospitals.