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Survey finds most Michigan doctors ready to take new patients if Medicaid expands


Most Michigan doctors say they are prepared to take on a wave of new patients -- if the state approves an expansion of its Medicaid program.  

Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 300,000 more people could be added to the state's Medicaid rolls next year.

Marianne Udow-Phillips of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation says the nonprofit group surveyed 1,500 Michigan physicians.
"Overall, 81% of primary care physicians say they're going to expand their practices to take new patients come 2014," Udow-Phillips says.

The CHRT study says 55 percent of primary care physicians in Michigan say they currently accept new Medicaid patients.  Among those who don't currently take new Medicaid patients, most physicians said they would also take newly enrolled Medicaid patients.

Udow-Phillips says the biggest enrollment is expected in Wayne, Oakland, McComb, Kent and Washtenaw counties.

"If the state decides to expand Medicaid, everybody who is at or under 138 percent of poverty becomes eligible for Medicaid," she says. "And we expect that a large number of those who will become newly eligible for Medicaid will be single adults who are childless."

The Medicaid expansion would be 100 percent federally funded for the first few years; by 2020, the state would pay 10 percent of the costs.

Udow-Phillips says another 400,000 residents could be added to the Medicaid program by 2020.

State participation in Medicaid expansion is voluntary. Governor Snyder has not indicated whether he supports the expansion; he's expected to announce his position when he presents his budget proposal early next month.