Dear Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Rangel, Waxman, Miller, Baucus, Dodd and Harkin:
As you craft the final health care reform bill, the undersigned organizations urge you to ensure meaningful access to care under the proposed Medicaid expansion by adopting the House provision to bring Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care in line with comparable Medicare rates within four years.
While we strongly support expanding Medicaid to extend health coverage to low income individuals, we are very concerned that failure to address reimbursement disparities will weaken an already fragile network of Medicaid providers at a time when the demand for their services will be growing.
Medicaid rates average just 66% of Medicare rates for primary care services and are woefully inadequate to cover the cost of providing care. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the planned expansion will increase enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by as many as 15 million beneficiaries. Those who rely on Medicaid to meet their health care needs include millions of low-income women, children, minorities and individuals with disabilities. The inadequacy of Medicaid reimbursement levels must be addressed in conjunction with the Medicaid expansion or we risk leaving our poorest and most medically-vulnerable residents behind despite the remarkable promise offered by health reform.
Please give high priority to ensuring access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries by adopting the House provision to adjust Medicaid payments for primary care to at least 100 percent of Medicare rates.
Thank you for your consideration.
(Initial signatories -- fill in information below to add your organization to the list of endorsers)
American Academy of Family Physicians
American College of Physicians
Doctors for America
HIV Medicine Association
The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems