Today, the Washington Examiner published an op-ed written by AMAC President Rebecca Weber and Representative Daniel Webster (R-FL) on the importance of passing the Helping Everyone Access Long Term Healthcare (HEALTH) Act. This legislation would provide greater access to primary care for low-income Americans.
See excerpts below. Read the full op-ed here.
In a sharply divided Congress, Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to cross party lines and address a tragic problem that has persisted for decades: Millions of people still cannot access a primary care physician.
Nationwide, roughly 92 million depend on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, both of which lack sufficient access to primary care. Because many of these people cannot access a family doctor, they often forgo routine care and resort to the emergency room when an illness escalates. Forty-four percent of Medicaid patients, for example, visit the emergency room each year — almost four times the rate of patients with private insurance.
Expanding access to primary care is deeply important to both of us. Our effort to address this problem was inspired by a leader we both knew and loved: Dan Weber, the founder of the Association of Mature American Citizens, whose passion for this issue stemmed from an experience that broke his heart. When he took his child to the emergency room during a summer trip to upstate New York, he was shocked by the number of people waiting in the rural hospital. He started talking to people only to discover that many were there because they had no other choice. A number of primary care physicians had stopped seeing Medicaid patients.
Then, he witnessed something truly devastating. A young mother arrived whose baby had died from whooping cough, a respiratory infection that could have been treated if the mother had access to a pediatrician.
Dan never forgot that young mother and child, nor have we. Her story inspired the introduction of the Helping Everyone Access Long Term Healthcare, or HEALTH, Act, which was just reintroduced last week.
To increase access to primary care physicians, the HEALTH Act provides doctors with an option to receive a tax deduction for pro-bono medical care. Under the current system, the administrative costs of applying for Medicaid or CHIP reimbursements are so high that many doctors opt out of the program.
For primary care visits alone, eliminating layers of administrative costs would save taxpayers an estimated $2.8 billion annually. Even more astounding: If just 7 million of the roughly 20 million emergency room visits by Medicaid recipients became nonhospital visits, it would save an estimated $6.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.
[Read the full article here]
Act Today! Tell Your Congressman to Cosponsor the HEALTH Act!
A primary reason why many health care professionals will not accept Medicaid patients is because of the pitiful manner in which Medicaid reimburses them for their services, and the shoddy manner in which they handle medical claims. My dentist’s office told me straight out that they used to accept Medicaid patients, but they had to bill and rebill and REBILL for each claim so often that they spent more money trying to get paid than they actually received in reimbursements. I have even heard of some physicians who have considered not accepting Medicare patients, because Medicare is not much better than Medicaid. When these government-based insurances finally do reimburse, their reimbursement rate is sub-par and anemic. However, since we have so many seniors and handicapped American citizens, not accepting Medicare patients is often seen as a good way to go out of business.
… here in America, we already have a wonderful primary care program for low income people. Trouble is, only for wealthy Americans and Illegal immigrants, it isn’t for low Income Americans –
We would not put car keys in the hands of a 12 year old or put up with a tantrum throwing brat yet we not only tolerate but vote for that
This comment does not pertain to the article above why the switch
anna, your comment does pertain to the article. The politicians(brats throwing tantrums) can’t get together for the good of the people to get the peoples work done. The Reps. and Dems. don’t seem to be able to come together for the good of the people or country. Inflation, open border, economy, crime and much more, They can’t come together to fix these problems. Our enemies see this gaggle of geese we call the US congress and smile. Yes we vote for it. Thanks for your comment.