On January 1, 2015, many Medicaid patients will find that their doctors cannot afford to keep their care up anymore. The reason? The ACA's cost-cutting sunset passes at Midnight December 31st.
A study by the liberal Urban Institute has estimated that in Virginia, payments to doctors that cover Medicaid patients are expected to drop 28.1%. That gap is considerable, and could cost Medicaid recipients here their physician if the federal government's reimbursement rate does not allow them to continue accepting Medicaid patients. Compared with the expected national average of 47%, though, Virginia's doctors look lucky. Thirty eight other states' Medicaid networks will feel an even more significant hit than us. Columnist Robert Pear wrote an article in Saturday's New York Times on the coming problem, which can be read here.
What's worse, these doctors, who had assumed that their reimbursement rates could only be cut to the point of making Medicaid care unfeasible, are finding that the cuts imply a much deeper problem. The Obama Administration's assertion that doctors are not even eligible to sue the government to enforce its own policies is even more unsettling. Originally, the government could not lower their reimbursement rates to the point of forcing doctors and entire geographic areas out of the Medicaid network, which these cuts threaten to do. The Administration has told the Supreme Court that doctors have no grounds sue the government to enforce that rule.
The Obama Administration's actions amount to a monumental bait and switch routine. Obamacare pushes through massive spending to expand Medicaid rolls beyond reason, and then pulls the massive spending that fuels the expansion, leaving doctors holding the bag, and patients on the street.
VA GOP Caucus