Primary care doctors treating Medicaid patients face steep cuts as program keeps expanding

A new study says primary care doctors seeing low-income patients face a steep cut in Medicaid fees next year when a temporary program in President Barack Obama's health care law expires.

That could reduce access for patients just when millions of new people are gaining Medicaid coverage under that same law.

Continue Reading Below

Wednesday's study from the nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates the cuts will average about 40 percent nationwide. But they'll be 50 percent or more for primary care doctors in California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois — big states that expanded Medicaid under the health law.

To improve access for the poor, the health law increased Medicaid fees for primary care doctors from 2013 to 2014. But that boost expires Jan. 1, and an extension got bogged down in Congress.