How do physicians feel about a new federal policy that allows
states to require applicants to work or seek a job in order to obtain Medicaid
benefits? Merritt Hawkins, an IHA Endorsed Business Partner, recently sent
survey to physicians nationwide to obtain an answer to this question.
It was one in a series of single-question surveys Merritt Hawkins has been
sending to physicians regarding various health care issues.
Over half (56.6 percent) of physicians responding to the
survey said they feel very favorably about the policy, while 17.8 percent
indicated they feel somewhat favorably. By contrast, only 9.2 percent of
physicians said they feel very unfavorably toward the policy while 8.4 percent
said they feel somewhat unfavorably. The remaining 8 percent of physicians
indicated they feel neither favorably nor unfavorably about the policy.
The survey was conducted by email in early March and was
completed by 667 physicians. According to experts in statistical response
analysis at the University of Tennessee, the survey has a margin of error (MOE)
of <1.0 percent.
Three states, including Kentucky, Indiana, and Arkansas, are
proceeding with the work requirements policy. In Kentucky, able-bodied Medicaid
applicants 19–64 years old will be required to put in 80 hours of community
engagement a month to qualify for Medicaid benefits, working, going to school,
training for a job, or volunteering. The policy in Indiana and Arkansas has
One clear takeaway from the survey is that many physicians
would like to move away from the Medicaid status quo. Medicaid can be a
problematic program for independent physicians who own their own practices, as
it often pays less than what it costs a physician to provide care. For
employed physicians who may be paid in part on quality, Medicaid also can be a
challenge. Many Medicaid patients have complicated health problems that may be
caused by societal forces that are beyond a physician’s ability to
address. It is difficult to achieve good outcomes for these patients, and
doctors who see poor, more complex patients can be financially penalized for
doing so under quality-based payment models.
The new survey contrasts with another single-question survey
Merritt Hawkins sent physicians last August, asking doctors where they stand on
a single-payer health care system. The majority of physicians responding
to that survey indicated they are in favor of a single-payer
system. Combined, the two surveys suggest physicians may not be against
government payers in principle but do take issue with Medicaid.
Access other physician surveys, whitepapers, and reports on
trends in health care here.
If you have any further questions, please contact Ben Jones, regional vice
president, at 469-524-1652 or Benjamin.Jones@MerrittHawkins.com.