Poll: Marylanders Support Parity in Medicaid, Medicare Payments
By Josh Kurtz
A new poll bolsters the long-held opinion of MedChi – the Maryland State Medical Society – that Maryland Medicaid payments should equal Medicare payments.
Traditionally, Medicaid, which largely serves the poor, reimburses health providers less in Maryland than Medicare, which treats the elderly and disabled. MedChi has long lobbied in Annapolis to close the disparity – and the poll shows that an overwhelming majority of voters agrees.
Seventy-three percent of survey respondents said that doctors and nurses who treat the poor should be paid equally for services provided to Medicaid and Medicare patients. Only 15 percent of participants believed that physicians and nurses should not be paid the same.
Support for parity was pretty much across the board in the state, but was slightly higher in its three traditionally most liberal jurisdictions — Baltimore City (82 percent), Prince George’s County (81 percent) and Montgomery County (76 percent).
African-American voters supported parity at a higher rate than whites. Women voters supported the concept at a greater rate than men. And Democrats supported it more than Republicans – though Republicans still favored the concept by a 54 percent to 29 percent margin.
The poll of 625 registered voters was taken Feb. 20-22 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy Inc. It had a 4-point margin of error.
“As a specialist in Prince George’s County who sees Medicaid patients, the results make sense,” said MedChi President-elect Benjamin Stallings, a radiologist. “As a specialist in Prince George’s County who sees Medicaid patients, the results make sense. Marylanders understand that we need fair Medicaid payments to ensure an adequate provider network for patients.”
MedChi has long argued that low Medicaid payments negatively affect access to medically necessary services. Lower Medicaid payments affect not only access to primary care providers, but also access to specialty services, the provider organization believes.
Medicaid payment increases for all physicians, regardless of specialty, will encourage private practice physicians and employed and hospital-based physicians, who care for many Medicaid patients, often in emergency situations, to participate in the Medicaid program.