Michigan's Medicaid program is growing by as many as 15,000 people a month, but fewer physicians are accepting new patients insured by the program, which physicians say pays too little to cover their costs, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, the Michigan governor's office announced an additional 4 percent cut last month, which "will lower payments across the board for hospitals, dentists and doctors who treat Medicaid patients." The article notes that in Michigan, the program currently insures a record 1.6 million residents.
"Doctors say the state-set reimbursement rates are already too low, in some cases covering only one-third of the actual costs of patient visits. Many physicians elect to treat Medicaid patients out of a sense of duty, rather than as a business decision," the AP reports, but even those may choose to spurn the program with further pay cuts. Experts say patients, "short on options, clock to emergency rooms and hospital clinics," a pattern that could end up costing the Michigan Medicaid program even more in the long run (Rogers, 6/7).