Connecticut is first to launch Medicaid expansion under health reform law

Indeed, despite a 15 percent increase between 2003 and 2008, Medicaid rates are just 72 percent of what Medicare pays for the same services, researchers at the Urban Institute found last year.

As a result, only about 40 percent of physicians accept all new Medicaid patients, versus 58 percent for Medicare patients, according to a September study from the Center for Studying Health System Change, which randomly surveyed more than 4,700 physicians.

Among family doctors and general practitioners, that number drops to only 31 percent. About 28 percent of all physicians don’t accept any new Medicaid patients at all, the group found.

Recognizing that problem, the health reform law hikes Medicaid rates to Medicare levels for primary care services. But the provision is temporary: The rate hikes are only in effect for 2013 and 2014.

This post was updated on June 30 at 4:51 p.m.