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Christopher Flavelle

Medicaid Is Too Cheap

Conservatives are wrong: Medicaid isn't expensive. If anything, it's too cheap.
See you next year?

See you next year?

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On New Year's Day, an Obamacare provision that temporarily boosted Medicaid payments to primary-care doctors expired. The pay doctors receive for seeing those patients will drop by an estimated 43 percent on average. The change could cause more doctors to stop seeing people on Medicaid, which covers the poorest Americans.

Conservatives will undoubtedly present the change as further proof that Medicaid, which is expanding thanks to the health-care law, is inherently flawed. There's another interpretation: If the goal is to cover lots of people at minimum cost, Medicaid is extremely effective. If anything, it's too cheap.