What Medicaid is Really Like

Sometimes you wonder if the people cheerleading for Medicaid actually know what it’s like to be on Medicaid.

This woman prefers to see a ­primary-care doctor, she told me, which is why she would call the clinic when she had pain. But often she was either unable to get an appointment right away or couldn’t get a person on the phone. When she did reach someone, once she said “chest pain,” she was almost always told to call 911 immediately and go to the ED…

Medicaid will pay for taxi service, she told me, but she has to call at least three days ahead to schedule the ride. Ultimately, she told me, she has concluded that “the only way to see a doctor soon enough is to call an ambulance” and go to the ED…

In our hospital, about one in 10 patients with Medicaid is a frequent visitor to the emergency department because many physicians don’t accept that insurance. Trying to understand the inability of patients with insurance to see primary-care providers, I called three local clinics, pretending to be a patient with Medicaid, and tried to make an appointment. The soonest I could see a primary-care doctor was two months.

Roberta Capp in the Washington Post. Entire editorial worth reading.

Comments (11)

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  1. Nigel says:

    This is really sad, because while they may need to see a doctor, whether or not it is an emergency is another story. People could be dying, because they called the ambulance. The opportunity cost of them calling the 911, could cost peoples lives.

  2. Pierre says:

    I find that this is just another reason why we should abolish medicare. When you subsidize something you get more of it. We are subsidizing poverty.

    • Jones says:

      Are you advocating that the government is keeping people poor?

      • Duveaux says:

        Well it wouldn’t be far fetched if he did, there is a lot of speculation that former-president Lyndon B. Johnson created the War on Poverty to keep black people poor…

        • Nigel says:

          That is incredible far fetched. The War on Poverty brought many people out of poverty, and if they were just trying to keep them poor…why did they fail so incredibly?

  3. Studebaker says:

    Imagine how much worse it will be if the number of Medicaid enrollees increases from 50 million at any given time to 70 million if all states expand Medicaid?

    • Miguel says:

      It truly is a scary thought. If we do not change the rules of Medicaid, it will overwhelm our system, and as Nigel said many people will not get the care they need.

      • Will says:

        This is not longer a political dance of who can get the most votes for an idea, this policy will have real consequences that significantly harm the American peoples ability to get healthcare especially in emergency situations when they need it the most.

  4. steve says:

    WHat does that lady do if she does not have Medicaid? I am thinking she can call for a taxi a month ahead of time, but wont be able to afford it.