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Monday, March 16, 2015

House Budget Writers Move to Reinstate Medicaid-to-Medicare Primary Care Parity

For two years ending Dec. 31, 2014, the Affordable Care Act mandated that Medicaid pay primary care physicians at Medicare rates for certain primary care services. The federal government picked up the entire tab. The goal was to shore up the crumbling Medicaid physician network, and it worked. In 2000, 67 percent of Texas physicians reported accepting all new Medicaid patients; by 2012, only 34 percent did, according to TMA surveys. But TMA’s 2014 Physician Survey showed that physician participation in Medicaid rebounded by 5 points, a jump we attribute almost entirely to the primary care payment increase. The Texas House Appropriations Committee saw the value in that. At the urging of TMA and Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), the committee voted to reinstate those Medicaid-to-Medicare primary care parity payments starting Sept. 1, 2015, using both state and federal funds. Senate budget writers and the full House must still follow suit, but the committee vote is a major step in a key piece of TMA’s 2015 Medicaid agenda.

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