Will New Medicaid Patients Be Able To Find Doctors?

Jul 12, 2018

Hundreds of thousands of people in Virginia are about to gain access to health insurance through Medicaid. But will they be able to find doctors?

70% of doctors in Virginia are taking new Medicaid patients. That’s according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, which puts Virginia right at the national average.

“Seven out of 10? In college and in high school, that’s a C minus.”

That’s Lauren Toomey at the Virginia chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

"So in regards to our health care system and something that’s supposed to help the most needy and vulnerable, I’d want a little bit better than that, especially given the cost-benefit analysis.”

Credit Wellness GM / Flickr

Joan Alker at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families says 70% is actually a pretty good number from her perspective. And, she adds, the number of doctors taking new Medicaid patients in rural areas is 86%.

“Rural areas really don’t have as many providers, and that’s why I think we see some good news here — that a higher percentage of physicians in rural areas nationwide are accepting Medicaid patients.”

The real question is what will happen after all these doctors start signing up new Medicaid patients. Will that cause the number of doctors accepting new patients to drop or stay the same or perhaps even increase? Advocates on both sides of the issue will be watching those numbers after the expansion is implemented next year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.