State Officials Worry That Docs May Not Accept New Wave Of Medicaid Patients

More than 7 million people are expected to gain insurance through Medicaid under the federal health law next year. In other news about implementation of the health overhaul, the trade group representing Catholic hospitals reserves judgment for now on the latest administration policy requiring contraception coverage.

Stateline: Luring Primary Care Docs Into Medicaid
The Affordable Care Act will usher at least seven million more Americans into Medicaid next year, but the question of whether enough doctors will be there to welcome them is keeping some state health policymakers up at night. A report published last year in Health Affairs signaled trouble ahead. According to that study by Sandra Decker, an economist at the National Center for Health Statistics, only two out of three primary care physicians surveyed in 2011 were willing to accept new Medicaid patients. Larger numbers said they would take on new Medicare patients or see new patients with private insurance. Medicare, health care for the elderly, is a purely federal program; Medicaid, which covers many poor people, is a joint state and federal enterprise (Ollove, 2/14).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Catholic Hospitals: Latest Compromise On Birth Control An Improvement For Faith Groups
A trade group for Roman Catholic hospitals says the latest federal rules on birth control coverage are an improvement. But the Catholic Health Association said Wednesday it won't make a final judgment until after canvassing its members (2/13).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Catholic Health Assn. Sees 'Progress' In Contraception Proposal
The Catholic Health Association said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s latest proposal on how employees of religiously affiliated institutions would get contraception under the 2010 health law represents "substantial progress." The response from the group's president, Sister Carol Keehan, was considerably warmer than the one issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the new rules "fall short" (Radnofsky, 2/13).

And in other news --

Politico: Obamacare Deadline Looms For Holdout States
For those states that just can't quite make up their mind, time's up. Friday is the day when states are due to declare whether they'll partner with the White House to build Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. After that, the sprint to the finish begins (Cheney and Millman, 2/13).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Obama And Rubio: Dueling Visions Of 'Obamacare'
Obama's health-care law was in many ways the dog that did not bark during the State of the Union. Obama felt no need to defend it, and Republicans no longer declared that they would repeal it. (Sen. Marco) Rubio simply referenced "Obamacare" as a government program that could hurt the middle class — while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in the Tea Party response, made no mention of the health-care law. In other words, the law is more or less here to stay. The race is now on to define the law's legacy and impact. Let's take a look at whether either man has the facts to back up their diametrically opposed statements (Kessler, 2/14).

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