Emily Bazar describes the challenges low-income Californians have finding doctors ("Patient Influx: Too few docs take Medi-Cal as access is set to expand," March 10, Page B-1) and correctly notes the situation will get worse following Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
The problem extends beyond access to doctors. Medicaid patients also struggle to find pharmacists, dentists and other providers.
That is because the state, with the blessing of the federal government, has cut reimbursements to levels that make it uneconomical for providers to participate. Even a 10 percent provider cut mandated in 2011 was approved by a federal agency and is currently being litigated by the courts.
Those at our highest levels of government seem not to understand that most health providers work for, or own, small businesses. We desire to serve those in need. But if the state makes it impossible to recoup our costs from caring for Medicaid patients, we have no choice but to stop accepting new patients or to leave the program entirely.
The situation is bad enough now. But the state courts disaster if it expects to add a million-plus new recipients to the rolls while simultaneously forcing the providers who will care for them to do more for less.