Jon Ward
The Daily Caller
April 4, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The addition to existing law of five words, and a comma, may cause a world of hurt to state governments.

Tucked away on page 466 of President Obama’s 2,704-page health-care bill is a provision that changes the definition of “medical assistance,” the term describing what states are required to provide to Medicaid recipients.

States have in the past been required to provide payment for services to physicians. Now, under the new definition, states will be liable for ensuring provision of “the care and services themselves.”

In other words, states are legally on the hook not only to ensure that Medicaid recipients are paid for, but that they’re seen by a doctor.

Medicaid recipients have found it increasingly difficult to be seen by doctors, as states in extreme economic duress have cut payment rates.

The new law seeks to solve the problem, but may cost states even more money at a time when most are in some of the worst economic straits since the Great Depression.

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