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    Saturday, May 01, 2004

    Medicaid Action: One reader pointed out that my earlier post about Colarado and Medicaid was nothing new. And that's true. The same problem with Medicaid reimbursement plays itself out in all states. But, in some states, activist lawyers are suing the states for failing to provide healthcare to the poor as mandated by the Medicaid laws. The latest is in Chicago:

    The suit contends Illinois has violated federal law by failing to ensure poor children receive appropriate preventive medicine, from immunizations to tests for lead in their blood.

    The reason, according to the suit: Doctors refuse to treat patients whose care is paid for by the government's Medicaid program, because reimbursement rates are low, and the state is often late in paying its bills.

    The case is significant because it could compel Illinois to spend millions of additional dollars on Medicaid, the federal-state health program for poor people. But lawyers who filed the suit argue that the state could face much larger medical bills unless it improves children's Medicaid programs.

    The same thing is happening in California, but the plaintiffs are doctors. Better be careful what they wish for. If access is the problem, the government might just turn around and legislate that everyone has to accept Medicaid, regardless of the reimbursement rate.

    UPDATE: Bard-Parker says:

    In reference to your "Medicaid Action "post. Same thing going on in Georgia. Some of the surgeons in town are no longer taking Medicaid. And to comment on your last paragraph, I think such a requirement would be a NHS type system in disguise. I don't believe that it could withstand a "restraint of trade" lawsuit, but I'm not a lawyer.

    Maybe it wouldn't. But if there's one certainty in this world (besides death and taxes) it's that you can't predict what the courts will do. Get enough activist judges and maybe it would withstand a restraint of trade lawsuit. (People laughed to think tobacco companies would lose to smokers who chose to smoke of their own free will and to think that the food industry would ever be under the same assault. But, here we are.)


    posted by Sydney on 5/01/2004 09:01:00 PM 0 comments


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