Improve Access to Healthcare for Medicaid Patients

WA Capitol_By_Cory Barnes

Target: Chair of the Washington State House Health Care & Wellness Committee, Representative Eileen Cody

Goal: Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates in Washington State in order to improve access to healthcare for Medicaid patients.

There are diminishing numbers of healthcare providers who are willing to accept new Medicaid patients as a result of the program’s low reimbursement rate in Washington State despite the fact that there are currently almost 2 million people enrolled in Medicaid there. While it is progress that heightened numbers of people have gained insurance over the past few years, this progress is hindered by the fact that these people, despite being covered, are now unable to find practitioners to administer the healthcare they need.

Recently, the federal government temporarily raised Medicaid reimbursement rates to incentivize healthcare providers to see the increased number of people insured by Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act. However, once the federal funding expired, Medicaid reimbursement rates dropped back to 65 percent of the rate paid by Medicare or a typical commercial insurance plan. As a result, most healthcare providers now lose money when treating Medicaid patients, and have responded by closing their doors to new patients.

For example, the Everett Clinic recently calculated that it lost 5.7 million dollars per year as a result of treating Medicaid patients over the past few years, and has stopped seeing new patients on Medicaid. In a state where half of its children are insured by Medicaid, this lack of available healthcare cannot be tolerated. People on Medicaid have just as much of a right to safe and affordable healthcare as those who are on commercial insurance plans.

Everyone deserves to have access to quality healthcare, and the current lack of accessible healthcare to people on Medicaid is unjust. By raising the reimbursement rate for Medicaid, it will become possible for more medical practitioners to resume taking on clients who are insured through the Medicaid program. Please sign the below petition to stand up for those who need access to quality healthcare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Cody,

I am writing to ask that you please advocate for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates in Washington State.  There are nearly 2 million people in Washington who are insured through the Medicaid program, yet there is a dangerous lack of healthcare providers in the state who are willing to treat these patients. This shortage of accessible healthcare for people on Medicaid is unjust and dangerous as patients are unable to access the services they need.

As of now, Medicaid only pays 65 percent of the reimbursement rate paid by Medicare and other commercial insurance plans. This lower rate results in healthcare providers losing money when they treat Medicaid patients, and many providers have begun closing their doors to new Medicaid patients. In a state where half of its children, and millions of people, are insured through Medicaid, this lack of healthcare providers who accept Medicaid cannot be tolerated.

Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of what medical insurance they have, and we must take action to stop the marginalization of people insured through Medicaid. By raising the reimbursement rate for Medicaid, it will become possible for more medical practitioners to begin taking on more clients who are insured through the Medicaid program. Please stand up for those who need access to healthcare and advocate for this increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Cory Barnes

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