Texas Medicaid Chief on Supreme Court Decision

As we blogged last week, Government Rick Perry went on record to say Texas will not expand Medicaid to accommodate the Affordable Care Act. He also said the state won’t set up insurance exchanges. Bill Millwee, the director of the Texas Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs, agreed that the new law will be financially difficult for the state, as uninsured individuals not enrolled in Medicaid are required enroll in some kind of coverage by 2014.

Millwee, who is retiring in August, pointed out unintended consequence of the health care law and the court’s ruling. From the Texas Tribune (emphasis added):

Expanding Medicaid would “add a lot of people” to the program without increasing their actual access to coverage, Millwee said, because of the scarcity of doctors accepting new Medicaid patients.

Last year 31 percent of doctors accepted Medicaid patients, The Texas Tribune reported earlier this week. Millwee attributed this number to the complexity of Medicaid, saying doctors are not paid as well under the current system as they could be under a block grant system.

The shortage of primary care physicians will continue to impact the state’s Medicaid and Medicare programs, and providers will need incentives to accept these recipients.