How Medicaid Works in California

And how it controls costs:

In an office decorated with Chinese art and diagrams of body parts, Dr. George Ma cares for more than 4,000 patients. Nearly three-quarters are covered by Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program for low-income Californians, and Ma said he receives $10 a month to treat most of them. This summer, when California makes a controversial 10% cut to Medi-Cal rates, he could get paid less…

State officials argue the 10% decrease is necessary to keep healthcare spending under control, but medical providers fear it will devastate an already shrinking workforce and jeopardize patient care. (LA Times)

Comments (14)

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  1. Jess says:

    Interesting. I wonder what medical employment will be like after Obamacare is all said and done.

    • JD says:

      What boils down to an expansion of this policy will result in more of the same. Less medical employment.

      • Craig says:

        Which means Doctors are either going to shut down their offices or work even more absurd hours.

  2. Jeff says:

    That would give substantial disincentive for Doctor to do all that they can do to help a patient.

    • Craig says:

      I’m not sure that losing 1 dollar off of every patient is going to be that impactful. It days that he is paid 10 dollars per medi-cal patient if they decrease the rate by 10 percent, that is only one dollar at the most.

      • JD says:

        I disagree. With reimbursement rates already extremely low, some doctors will have reached their breaking point and will have to discontinue accepting new patients using government insurance or go out of business.

        • Craig says:

          1 dollar per patient though? I understand your argument, and I think you could be right with a higher amount of money being lost, but if they put up with it this long…I don’t see why they wouldn’t put up with it after losing a dollar per patient.

          • Miguel says:

            I don’t know I think there is a higher probability of JD being right, because with all of these radical changes in healthcare, it isn’t just the dollar that would cause them to reach their breaking point, but it would be the straw that broke the camels back.

          • JD says:

            I guess it depends on how many patients that would effect.

            It seems to me that if they are accepting a measly $10/month, that business operations would require a lot of patients to make it worth accepting medi-cal.

            • Tim says:

              I can see how they could reach their breaking point due to many factors and this just being the tipping point.

  3. JD says:

    The number of doctors accepting government insurance has been dwindling because they aren’t reimbursed as much as they are by private insurance. Unfortunately, they also have a massive debt problem. California has wedged itself between a rock and a hard place. Don’t expect Obamacare to fix this.

    • Miguel says:

      I’m not sure California is going to be the best place to measure Obamacare’s effectiveness. Their infrastructure and medical programs were inefficient even before the ACA, so I am not sure that people giving a fair assessment.

  4. Buster says:

    Of course, with 4,000 patients, Dr. Ma cannot see them on a timely basis whenever one of them calls. He probably knows that if he schedules the appointment 30 days out, there is a good chance his patient will go to the emergency room instead of bothering Dr. Ma. Thus, Dr. Ma rakes in $40,000 a month to care from MediCal beneficiaries without having to see many of them. But then again, who would blame him. If he seem a MediCal enrollee more than twice a year, he’s losing money on that patient.