Did Obama health care bill hide $30 billion in Medicaid costs?

Even more accounting tricks in the bill?

Call it Doc Fix 2.0.

The federal government already has the “Doc Fix,” an annual shortfall of about $20 billion that must be paid to maintain current payment rates to physicians under Medicare.

Now, it looks like President Obama’s health-care bill created another funding cliff, costing an additional $5.5 billion or so each year.

Critics say the costs were hidden from view in the $940 billion health-care bill to lower the price tag by about $30 billion, and also as a way to gain the support of doctors and hospitals without angering governors.

The recently passed bill mandated that, starting in 2013, state governments must pay primary care physicians the same amount for Medicaid recipients, who are mostly poor, as it does for Medicare recipients, who are mostly elderly.

Low Medicaid reimbursement rates have cut down on the number of physicians that will even see poor and indigent recipients in the first place.

Some states pay doctors and hospitals about the same rates for Medicaid as they do for Medicare. But states with some of the largest Medicaid populations – New York, New Jersey and California – pay some of the lowest rates for Medicaid. . . .



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