Run on Medicaid

To the Editor:

One month into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act finds that the emphasis is still on the difficulty created by a poorly designed website.

This is making it more difficult to sign up for private insurance. At the same time, Medicaid is now more available thanks to the act. People are signing up for Medicaid in much higher percentages than private insurance. The Wall Street Journal reported that in Kentucky, for example, 82 percent of those enrolling in new insurance plans under Obamacare are signing up for Medicaid. In Washington, it’s 87 percent.

As if the Obama health plan didn’t have sufficient headaches already, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found 9,539 physicians who previously accepted Medicare opted out in 2012. In 2009, the number was 3,700. The journal Health Affairs found that 33 percent of primary care physicians did not accept new Medicaid patients in 2010-2011. The American Academy of Family Physicians survey found that 4 percent of family physicians are now in cash only or concierge practices, where patients pay a monthly or yearly fee for special access to doctors.

Economist Paul Ginsburg, president of the nonpartisan Center for Studying Health System Change, said, “Medicare has really been pushing its luck with physicians.”

Jeffrey Cain, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said family physicians are fed up, and it’s getting worse.

New enrollees need to purchase private insurance if the plan is to work.

William Guild

McHenry