Letters to the Editor

Letter: Medicaid cuts will have consequences

In the lead-up to the state’s transition of the Medicaid program from a fee-for-service model to managed care, Iowa’s physicians raised concerns about continuity of care for patients and the administrative burden of navigating three Medicaid managed care plans, but nonetheless most physicians joined the managed care plans’ provider networks in good faith. Four months later, not only are our original concerns being validated but Gov. Terry Branstad also has given the Department of Human Services authorization to implement $30 million in Medicaid cuts largely targeted at Iowa physicians.

Medicaid cuts have consequences. When the state implemented a 5 percent across-the-board rate cut in 2009, reduced payments forced some physicians to limit appointments for Medicaid patients, or to stop accepting new Medicaid patients altogether.

The average cost of operating a medical practice has risen more than 27 percent in the past decade, but Iowa’s Medicaid payment rates today are virtually unchanged from those paid in the year 2000. Despite this, Iowa physicians remain committed to helping ensure vulnerable Iowans have access to the care they need. Cutting already insufficient Medicaid rates will exacerbate administrative issues and threaten access to care for Iowa’s Medicaid beneficiaries over the long term.

On behalf of the more than 6,300 physician, resident, and medical student members of the Iowa Medical Society, I urge Gov. Branstad and DHS not to turn their backs on Iowa physicians and our patients. Do not implement cuts to Medicaid physician rates, and do not limit patients’ access to care.

Joyce Vista-Wayne, MD, DFAPA

President-Elect, Iowa Medical Society

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

MORE Letters to the Editor ARTICLES TO READ NEXT ...

A recent letter suggested that firearms should be regulated like vehicles ('Firearms should be treated like vehicles,' April 12). Great idea! How about we do the same with freedom of speech and freedom of religion? After all, if w ...

I retired from the Air Force as a firefighter after 23 years of service and I don't think a Veterans Administration-type system of health care should be extended to all Americans. If we make government-run health care available to ...

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.