MMA Supports Medical Assistance Expansion at Capitol
|MMA CEO Robert Meiches, M.D., (left) expressed support for the expansion of Medical Assistance in Minnesota alongside the bill's author, Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth). |
[MMA News Now, Jan. 24, 2013] On Jan. 23, MMA CEO Robert Meiches, M.D., expressed the MMA’s support for expanding Medical Assistance (MA) while asking lawmakers to adequately pay physicians who participate in the program.
“The long-term sustainability of the Medical Assistance program requires the state to adequately pay for physician services provided to Medical Assistance enrollees,” Meiches told the House, Health and Human Services Policy Committee, which was reviewing a bill that would expand the Medical Assistance program for adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), consistent with the Affordable Care Act.
“Minnesota physicians have had their fee-for-service (FFS) rates frozen for 13 years,” he continued, pointing out that Medical Assistance FFS payment rates for physicians in Minnesota currently rank 47th out of 50.
Despite the stagnant rates, Minnesota physicians continue to fully participate in the program. “Physicians care about their patients, they want to serve,” Meiches said.
Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told the committee that increasing MA to 138 percent of the FPL would provide coverage to 87,000 Minnesotans. MinnesotaCare already covers 53,000 of those people; 34,000 are currently uninsured.
Those covered by MinnesotaCare would see better coverage for less cost by switching over to Medical Assistance, Jesson told the committee.
In addition to increasing the number of Minnesotans with access to care, the expansion would save the state more than $1 billion over the next two biennia. As part of the ACA, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the expansion the next two years, then 90 percent after that. Currently, Minnesota and the federal government share costs for Medicaid 50/50.