Re March 24 letter by Dr. Richard Young, "Medicaid expansion helps those who should pay"
Doctors do not have to accept Medicaid patients. There is no law that requires any doctor to accept your insurance or for that matter even see you as a patient. Most physician practices do not accept Medicaid because of its low reimbursement amounts. So why would a doctor come out against Medicaid expansion?
Dr. Young’s letter indicated that people with insurance would drop their coverage and sign up with Medicaid because of the increase in the threshold. So let’s look at that. According to the South Carolina Hospital Association – the definitive experts on Medicaid expansion – the increase to 138 percent of the poverty level would mean that a single person making not more than $15,000, a married couple making $20,879 and a family of four making $32,499 would qualify for Medicaid. With the average SC Blue Cross policy running $600 to $1,000 a month do we really believe that people making these incomes, which by the way are gross amounts before taxes, are buying health insurance?
We all know that finding an employer in Horry County that provides benefits is extremely rare given the nature of our market and even then the cost through an employer is not any better for low income employees. The money to pay for this is from the uncompensated care fund for hospitals, because unlike doctors there is a law that requires hospitals to provide care in the ER to every patient that shows up, regardless of their ability to pay. That uncompensated fund that provided 10 cents for each dollar a hospital spent on uninsured patients is now gone, with the thought being everyone will have coverage, but South Carolina is opting out of expansion.
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Currently for every $10 we spend on Medicaid in South Carolina we receive $7 from the federal government and $3 comes from the state. The fact we are opting out doesn’t mean that current method of reimbursement is going away. No, instead of receiving the full $10 of our withheld tax money, other states that are expanding are going to get yours and my tax dollars.
Get all the correct facts at www.scha.org. Doctors should stick to subjects they know about and stay out of health care finance, an area they have no training in.
The writer lives in Conway.