Doctors Reject Medicaid Patients

Doctors are most likely to reject Medicaid patients more than any health care consumer, a new survey published in Health Affairs finds.

More than three in 10 doctors—31 percent—say they wouldn’t accept new Medicaid patients.

It could spell trouble for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which aims to expand Medicaid. The number of those patients could increase by as much as 16 million due to health reform.

Less than 70 percent of doctors said they were accepting new Medicaid patients, much lower than those accepting privately insured patients (81 percent) or Medicare patients (83 patients). The reason for this is fairly obvious: Doctors get less money for treating Medicaid patients.

Sandra Decker, an economist with the Center for Disease Controls, used a survey of 4,326 office-based physicians from across the country.

The numbers did vary significantly by state. In Wyoming, for example, 99 percent of doctors were willing to accept new Medicaid patients. But only 40 percent of New Jersey doctors said they would do the same, according to the study.

October 1, 2012 • Reprints