The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on children’s access to physicians is far less dire than press accounts suggest. While children on Medicaid do have more difficulty finding specialists, most physicians are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP and are “serving children covered by these programs”:
GAO estimates that more than three-quarters of primary and specialty care physicians are enrolled as Medicaid and CHIP providers and serving children in those programs. A larger share of primary care physicians (83 percent) are participating in the programs—enrolled as a provider and serving Medicaid and CHIP children—than specialty physicians (71 percent)…. Nationwide, physicians participating in Medicaid and CHIP are generally more willing to accept privately insured children as new patients than Medicaid and CHIP children.
Ninety-one percent of physicians accepted at least some new patients , but 66 percent of primary-care physicians had trouble finding specialty physicians:
The issue has become a political football, with conservatives using the access problems to push for legislation that would transform Medicaid into a block grant program — and in many ways making it even harder for children to find adequate medical care.