The Obama administration continues boast of the rise in Medicaid enrollees. Just before Christmas, for instance, Cindy Mann, deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hailed as a “milestone achievement” the addition of 9.7 million Americans to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) since October 2013.
“This is great news. But, the best news is that the number of people with health coverage continues to increase,” Mann wrote. “New data released this week show[s] that the drop in the Nation’s uninsured rate so far this year is largest over any period since the early 1970s. The uninsured rate is now at or near the lowest level recorded in data spanning 50 years. And, the number of people with health coverage is growing as Medicaid and the Marketplace continue to work.”
Access to health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean access to healthcare, and Medicaid is a constant reminder of that fact. Many doctors have refused to participate in the government-run healthcare program, citing low reimbursement rates and burdensome regulations. And with a federally funded temporary payment increase set to expire at the beginning of the year, more primary care physicians may bolt from the program.