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What are some complaints about Medicaid?

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Quick Answer

Common complaints about Medicaid include accessibility problems and increased rates of emergency room utilization among Medicaid beneficiaries. Additionally, people often cite fraud as a major problem with the Medicaid program, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Medicaid beneficiaries often have difficulty finding a doctor to accept them as a new patient. Many doctors have been reluctant to accept Medicaid patients into their practices because Medicaid reimburses at a lower rate than other insurances, explains the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Doctors are more likely to see Medicaid patients in states where reimbursement rates are higher. Because of these access barriers to health care services, Medicaid patients utilize emergency room services at twice the rate of patients with private insurance. Costlier emergency room care contributes to higher health care costs across the system. A common complaint against Medicaid is that it encourages overuse and should be revised to include co-payments or other barriers to prevent overuse, reports The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Another complaint against Medicaid is that it promotes fraud and abuse. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Medicaid lost more than $17 billion due to fraudulent claims in 2014, such as payments being made to deceased providers or on behalf of deceased beneficiaries. Some believe that the structure of the Medicaid program, which incentivizes states by offering them more money for expanding their Medicaid programs, may encourage such fraudulent claims.

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