Virginia May Not Have Enough Doctors To Sustain a Medicaid Expansion

The lousy compensation doesn't bring them running


ALEXANDRIA —A debate in Virginia over the Affordable Care Act and whether to expand Medicaid eligibility rages on, but a huge question remains.

The answers, though, aren't necessarily forthcoming.

The question is whether the commonwealth has enough doctors to handle an expansion. Thing is, it's hard to tell, partly because the data is scattered.

Things break down like this:

More than 915,000 residents were enrolled in Medicaid in Virginia as of July 1, 2011, but 58 percent of those beneficiaries used managed care models — the provider bills Medicaid a monthly fixed fee, per beneficiary.

The remaining 382,746 Medicaid beneficiaries are enrolled in fee-for-service models. But providers may work in multiple offices and accept Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in both payment models.