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Why Would Any Doctor Accept Medicaid?

A physician friend of mine posted a copy of her Medicaid reimbursement on Facebook. Take a look at the charges compared to the actual reimbursement. She is paid between $6.82 and $17.54 for an hour of her time (i.e. on average, she makes less than minimum wage when treating a patient on Medicaid).

The enthusiasm about expanding Medicaid coverage to the previously uninsured seems misplaced. Improved “access” to the healthcare system via Medicaid programs surely cannot result in lasting coverage. In-network physicians will continue to dwindle as their office overhead exceeds meager reimbursement levels.

In reality, treating Medicaid patients is charity work. The fact that any physicians accept Medicaid is a testament to their generosity of spirit and missionary mindset. Expanding their pro bono workloads is nothing to cheer about.  The Affordable Care Act’s “signature accomplishment” is tragically flawed – because offering health insurance to people that physicians cannot afford to accept is not better than being uninsured.

After all, improved access to nothing… offers nothing. Inviting physicians to work for less than minimum wage so that politicians can crow about millions of uninsured Americans now having access to healthcare, is ridiculous. Medicaid expansion is widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The saddest part is that the have-nots just don’t realize it yet.

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53 Responses to “Why Would Any Doctor Accept Medicaid?”

  1. Academic Elite says:

    Hi Dr. Keith,

    Those were very interesting points. I have to say that it is quite alarming how our government regulations and corporate interests have eroded the medical system in America. I wanted to express my thanks for including your voice to this message board. It was enlightening to here of your experiences and knowledge. I wonder if more medical practitioners went into politics that we would see the sort of change America needs. There are some up and comers like Senator Rand Paul. But government is crowded with lawyers. The limitation of perspectives in the executive and legislative branches of government may exacerbate these sorts of problems. I wonder if our country would benefit if individuals from a broad spectrum of backgrounds were in government.

    Best regards,


  2. Young And Dumb says:


    The number of attorneys in our government is undoubtedly a problem.

    I’m by no means an Anglophile, Francophile, or lover of all things Europe, but it’s interesting to note the professions of other world leaders. While our country churns out attorney after attorney whose entire life has been dedicated to politics, Germany elected a physical chemist to their version of the President.

    This isn’t to say that attorneys do poor jobs running the country–some have done great things for our society. I do think however, that the overwhelming presence of attorneys in our electorate have ushered in a government that concerns itself more with liability and litigation than true governance.

  3. Freddie says:

    Yeah, screw Obamacare. Single payer, that’s what we need.

    I’m sue doctors will LOVE that.

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