Continuing to Help Low-Income Women Access Primary Care

Medicaid is an integral part of our health care system and a crucial source of coverage for many of our patients. More than one out of every ten adult women in the US (13%) are insured by Medicaid. However, the promise of timely access to care through the program is limited by low reimbursement rates across most of the country.

On average, Medicaid pays a doctor only 59% of what s/he would earn for treating a patient with Medicare for the same primary care services. In some states, payments lower than the cost of care force doctors to limit the number of Medicaid patients that they can see, or not accept Medicaid patients at all.

Improving women’s access to care has long been a priority for ACOG. At the federal level, ACOG has advocated for extension and expansion to ob-gyns of the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Bump (aka Medicaid to Medicare parity). The federal program showed promise but wrongly excluded ob-gyns from participating. It has since expired.

ACOG now has the opportunity to build on our robust advocacy efforts by urging every state government to continue Medicaid to Medicare parity programs and ensure that women’s health is included. Currently, 19 states and DC are working to achieve the pay bump in their next year’s budget. And two states have already included ob-gyns in the higher reimbursement program!

To seize on this momentum, ACOG has launched the nationwide advocacy initiative, All-in for Women’s Primary Care. Regardless of whether your state has expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, your state can raise Medicaid primary care rates to Medicare levels for ob-gyns.

But we need your engagement: talk with your state’s legislators and Medicaid administrators about the importance of including women’s health care in the primary care bump. Please visit the Action Center, where you’ll find fact sheets, infographics, tweets, and other materials. Together, let’s go All-in for Women’s Primary Care!

This entry was posted in Women's Health and tagged , by John C. Jennings, MD. Bookmark the permalink.

About John C. Jennings, MD

John C. Jennings, MD is the president of ACOG through April 2015. He is professor of ob-gyn at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. Dr. Jennings was in private practice in San Angelo, TX, for 12 years before entering academic medicine. He has served as head of gynecology and program director of ob-gyn at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; professor and program director of ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; chair and program director of ob-gyn at TTUHSC at Amarillo; and regional dean of the school of medicine at TTUHSC at the Permian Basin.

2 thoughts on “Continuing to Help Low-Income Women Access Primary Care

  1. In Louisiana, 70% of deliveries are paid for by Medicaid. The State cuts Medicaid reimbursement and higher education first anytime there is a budget deficit and this year we are facing a hugh deficit. Over the last several years, Medicaid has cut reimbursement to hospitals greater than 20%. At Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, a 1% cut equals $1.2 million loss in revenue. Medicaid is the illusion of insurance without access and, to put it bluntly, is discrimination against women and children, making them second class citizens. It is a “disproportionate burden” for obstetricians and pediatricians. When I meet a medical student, my advice is to “go into something not covered by Medicaid”.

    • In 1991, I raised my fee for 59400 to $1400 to keep in line with Medicaid increase. Today, average Medicaid reimbursement nationwide is the same $1400. We can’t have health care cost subsidized almost entirely providers. The whole of our social support networks must share and bring reimbursement rates into line with current economic realities. The fall out is quality of care suffers and providers burn out. Access is limited.

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