Press Releases

Reps. Valadao, Denham Introduce Legislation to Improve Health Care Access

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Washignton, June 6, 2017 | Anna R. Vetter ((202) 815-1685) | comments
Today, U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) joined with Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10) to introduce legislation to correct California’s flawed Medicaid reimbursement method, encouraging physicians to operate within Central Valley communities and ensure patients have access to doctors and specialists.
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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) joined with Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10) to introduce legislation to correct California’s flawed Medicaid reimbursement method, encouraging physicians to operate within Central Valley communities and ensure patients have access to doctors and specialists.

The Assessing Critical Care Efforts to Strengthen Services (ACCESS) Act creates a Medicaid Payment Model Demonstration Project through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). This Demonstration Project will focus on how to improve payment models to recruit and retain physicians to serve low-income individuals residing in counties, such as those in California's Twenty First Congressional District, with a disproportionately high share of Medicaid enrollees.

Congressman David Valadao (CA-21) stated, “Here in the Valley, we know all too well that possession of an insurance card does not equate to health care services and medical treatment. By correcting California’s reimbursement method, we can encourage medical professionals to not only set up their practices in the Valley, but to provide medical services to all patients, including those who rely on the Medicaid program.”

“While the American Health Care Act addresses the issue of rising premiums to stabilize our nation’s healthcare system, we must also address the core issues that prevent patients from being able to find and keep a doctor who will accept their coverage,” said Representative Jeff Denham (CA-10). “California’s low Medicaid reimbursement rates only exacerbate the Central Valley’s existing doctor shortage.”

“The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has strained a system that now leaves too many Californians without options for quality healthcare – including, too often, the basic ability to see a physician. Jeff and David have identified a solution to encourage more doctors to practice in the Central Valley communities most dependent on Medicaid. Following the House passage of the American Health Care Act we continue to put forward ideas to make our healthcare work for all Americans,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23).

The Medicaid program provides health coverage to low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. The program, administered by states, and funded by both the federal government and each state, reimburses physicians for medical services and treatment provided to enrolled patients.

However, California’s extremely low reimbursement rates (California ranks 48 out of 50 states), combined with the Central Valley's high prevalence of Medicaid enrollees, discourages medical providers from establishing their practices in the region. Furthermore, some Central Valley providers refuse to accept Medicaid patients all together. This severely hinders the ability of those living within California's Twenty First Congressional District to access quality health care services.

A summary of the ACCESS Act can be found here

Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District of California, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.

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