Coverage Does Not Equal Access – Why a Medicaid Card is Often Just as Bad as Being Uninsured

Coverage Does Not Equal Access – Why a Medicaid Card is Often Just as Bad as Being Uninsured

July 23, 2007 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - No Comments

Recently the WSJ reported on a 2006 study by the Center for Studying Health System Change that “almost half of all physicians polled said they had stopped accepting or were limiting the number of new Medicaid beneficiaries they will see.” In all the discussion both within Maine and nationally regarding expanding Medicaid or SCHIP (the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program), why isn’t someone talking about ensuring that kids in low-income families can actually get into see a pediatrician before trying to give kids in middle-income families a Medicaid card as well?
I guess it is just a case of politicians wanting to feel good. Give out more Medicaid cards with little thought of whether or not individuals actually have access to health care.
It is ironic that in Canada (single payor), coverage does not equal access. In fact, it often equals a waiting list. In the US, Medicaid coverage does not even get one on a waiting list for half of primary care physicians and certain specialists.