Study: Medicaid Families Have Reduced Access to Specialty Care

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Care Manager Laura Futransky helps Debra Anderson schedule doctors' appointments in an experimental Medicaid program.

Millions of children in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid and should receive the same access to health care as families with private insurance. But a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests those families are finding it harder to make appointments with doctors and are waiting longer for care. The study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania is the first of its kind and looked at the experiences of parents making appointments at specialty clinics in Cook County, Ill. With Medicaid facing a reduction in funding the question of access to care is more important than ever.

Dr. Karin Rhodes, director of Emergency Care and Policy Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is the senior author of the study. She explains the results of this unique research and discusses the questions it raises for doctors, patients and health care policy makers. Lisa Hannum is the mother of four children who are on Medicaid. She shares her many stories of struggling to get good care while on Medicaid.


Lisa Hannum and Dr. Karin Rhodes

Produced by:

Susie Warhurst

Comments [4]

I totaly agree with Peg's comment. The Healthcare system must be available to all Americans without regard to class, income status and pre-exixting condition.
Physicians in general and specialists in particular are bunch of greedy, money hungry and could care less about the health care they provide to their patients. It is the mighty dollar and how much insurance compensation, through billing & coding, they accumulate at the end of the day that matters. It has got to be changed!!!

Jun. 16 2011 11:38 AM
Sherry Cohen from Stamford, CT

Peg is absolutely correct. My family and I were on Connecticut's Charter Oak and HUSKY plans for two months between COBRA and when my husband's benefits started. Forget specialists for a moment. Our child, almost four, had a nasty stomach bug on and off for more than two weeks, with alternating vomiting and diarrhea. We couldn't get an immediate or next day appointment to see a pediatrician who accepted HUSKY. I appealed to the people and HUSKY and explained the situation. They authorized urgent care. Thank goodness the urgent care center in our town happens to have top pediatricians. They took cultures and told us to give him pro-biotics. Our son was fine the next day, but he should not have had to suffer all that time because we were victims of the recession -- no one should.

Jun. 16 2011 10:27 AM

Celeste's on-air description of Medicaid mischaracterized the right a Medicaid recipient has. You do not have the right to get access to health care "as much as anybody else." You have the right to access to health care only as much as any other Medicaid recipient. In different states that means different kinds of health care are covered. Furthermore, so far all doctors are not required to take Medicaid patients. Specialists often don't take *any* insurance, wanting their payments up front in cash.

Jun. 16 2011 09:46 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Until Americans decide that access to Health Care is a Universal Right, our system will always be unfair and mostly unavailable to the poor. There are far too many Americans who think that they DESERVE good health care and that others DO NOT. There is no other reason that we don't have a Single Payer or Medicare for All system like other developed countries provide for their people.

This is why we have one of the worst health care outcomes at the most expensive cost of any developed country in the world. It's shameful and stupid. No wonder, businesses don't want to invest in America. We are unhealthy and expensive to employ.

Where on this planet is the example of a successful Privately Funded health care system that delivers quality care to All members of its society - rich and poor?

Jun. 16 2011 07:01 AM

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