Getting a Doctor's Appointment Tougher on Medicaid

Reuters (03/27/12) Norton, Amy
According to a new study from the University of Colorado, Americans on Medicaid have a harder time getting a prompt doctor's appointment, which may help explain why some end up going to the ER. The problem is likely to grow, researchers say, as more people go on Medicaid as part of national healthcare reform; and simply expanding coverage may not be enough to improve access to primary care. The study found that of more than 230,000 Americans surveyed over a decade, Medicaid recipients had more problems getting an appointment with a doctor. Just over 16 percent reported at least one "barrier," such as having to wait too long for an appointment or even being unable to get someone on the phone at the doctor's office, compared with 9 percent of survey respondents who had private insurance.

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