Monday, August 18, 2014

California About to Experience Doctor Rationing with Excessive Wait Times. 30% of State Now on Medicaid

Many Californians are about to see that having an insurance card guarantees nothing.  Emergency room visits will continue escalate as newly enrolled Medicaid and Obamacare subscribers face rationing by waiting in their struggle to find a doctor.  Below is an outline of the key points from a longer article published by Anna Gorman in the Kitsap Sun outlining California's daunting task.  
  • 11 million Californians, 30% of the state population, are now on Medi-Cal (the state's version of Medicaid). 
  • This makes Medi-Cal the largest version of the nation's Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people.  
In Obamacare, the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs for newly eligible Medi-Cal enrollees for the first three years (and then 90% until 2022). But the state is responsible for 50 percent of the costs for those who qualified for the program before the Obamacare expansion, even if they hadn't previously enrolled. 
  • The higher-than-expected number of enrollees will cost the state an additional $1.2 billion this year,
  • bringing the state's total share of the costs for the program to $17 billion a year.
With payments of $18 to $24 a visit, "doctors can't continue to accept new patients and keep their doors open," said Molly Weedn, a spokeswoman for the California Medical Association. 
Another problem rests with the state bureaucracy. California has an application backlog of about 490,000 people, which underscores the need to modernize and streamline the technology used for enrollment. 
The full story can be read here.  The added emphasis is mine.