In-Depth: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to restore the Medicaid Pay Parity program, which expired on December 31, 2014.
In October 2014, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supported extending payment parity for at least the 2014-2016 period. At that time, AAFP president Robert Wergin, MD FAAFP said:
“Without Congressional action to extend Medicaid parity with Medicare, primary care physicians will see an abrupt cut to Medicaid payments for the care they provide to low-income families. This could wipe out the progress of ensuring that low-income Americans have access to primary medical care. We know from research that when Medicaid beneficiaries cannot find a physician who accepts new Medicaid patients, they face the same access problems as those who have no insurance.”
This bill has two cosponsors, both of whom are Democrats, in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, this bill had no cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote. Rep. Lewis first introduced this bill in 2014, as the Medicaid Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 5353).
Of Note: The Medicaid Pay Parity program was a provision outlined within the Affordable Care Act. It increased Medicaid provider reimbursement to match that of Medicare providers. It expired on December 31, 2014 and wasn’t extended nationally.
However, some states have chosen to continue Medicaid pay parity. Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, and New Mexico have extended Medicaid pay parity. Alaska is paying doctors even more than the Medicare rate. A few other states — Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, and South Carolina — have chosen to increase Medicaid reimbursement, but not to the full Medicare rate.
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / zimmytws)