Nearly nine million more Americans are now covered by Medicaid as a result of Obamacare, but the influx of new beneficiaries is overloading some healthcare systems that don't have enough doctors and staff to treat them, according to The Wall Street Journal
Separate to the problem of overstretched staff, some medical practitioners are turning new recipients away because they receive less money for their services when paid for by Medicaid compared to private insurers, resulting in steep drops in revenue.
"I would love to see every Medicaid patient that comes through my door," said Dr. Holly Abernethy, a family physician, who has turned away all newly-eligible Medicaid beneficiaries both because they don't generate enough income and because she doesn't have enough time in her workday to accommodate them.
"I have three small children and I miss them," she added, according to the Journal.
The problem for health providers will be compounded as Obamacare enters its second annual enrollment period on Saturday, which is expected to attract an additional four million beneficiaries for 2015.
Even before the introduction of Obamacare, many health systems in different parts of the country were overstretched, according to the Journal.
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have opted for Medicaid expansion. In total, Medicaid covers nearly 68 million people, and is projected to cover 93 million a decade from now, or one in four Americans, according to figures from the Congressional Budget Office, the Journal noted.
Medicaid spending is projected to double to almost $919 billion in 2023 from $450 billion in 2013 due to the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, Obamacare recipients could be facing a separate problem in the second year of enrollment because there has been an influx in lower cost plans which will have the effect of lowering average premium subsidies.
Consumers who do not change to lower cost plans could find that they receive a lower value in tax credits
and hence a hike in their total costs.
The administration has been careful to downplay expectations for HealthCare.gov
after the disastrous rollout last year, while observers wait to see whether the revamped site will meet consumer needs.
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