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AMA set to urge Medicaid eligibility expansion


By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: November 14, 2012 - 12:30 pm ET
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The American Medical Association will advocate for increasing Medicaid payments for physicians and—in states where it is invited by the state's medical societies to do so—for expanding Medicaid eligibility under the terms of a new policy approved by the AMA House of Delegates.

The resolution calling for the policy noted that, according to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid expansion called for by the law is optional and that an estimated 15.1 million additional people could become eligible if the option is exercised nationwide. The current federal poverty level for a family of four is an income of $23,018; the AMA will urge the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to those whose income is up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

The resolution also noted that caring for the uninsured produces "huge financial burdens" on doctors' offices and hospitals.

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"Medicaid provides a safety net for our most vulnerable patients and allows them to access the healthcare they need," AMA board member Dr. Carl Sirio said in a news release. "By expanding Medicaid eligibility at the state level, we can reduce the number of uninsured Americans who live sicker and die younger."

The resolution, presented at the AMA House of Delegates' interim meeting in Honolulu, was introduced by the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the Renal Physicians Association, the Society of Hospital Medicine, and the state delegations from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The original resolution did not contain the provision that the AMA advocate only in states where it was invited. The report issued by the committee that reviewed the resolution said it was added to reach a consensus among delegates.


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