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This month more features of the Affordable Care Act, derisively called by Republicans and proudly named by Democrats–Obamacare. The winners in 2013 are patients and providers in Medicaid while the losers are everybody else. But losers must remember that in the long run everyone will gain from the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid wins in two ways; the first is increased preventive services for those receiving Medicaid benefits, the second, Medicaid doctors will receive parity for their services with Medicare. While most physicians feel that Medicare payments are too low, they were even lower under Medicaid. Parity with Medicare will give physicians a pay raise. The administration also hopes that by creating pay parity between Medicaid and Medicare more physicians will accept Medicaid payments.
Where ever state Medicaid programs offer preventative services at no charge or for a small fee the federal government is sending them additional funding. The money is to be used for testing and screening for chronic diseases that, if diagnosed early, can be managed less expensively than if not caught until the disease or disorder is very serious. Tests that the government will help pay for include cancer screenings that include colonoscopies and mammograms, high blood pressure tests, diabetes screening and high cholesterol. In addition, funds are now available from the federal government to eligible states to provide counseling for those who wish to quit smoking or lower use of alcohol as well as provide for routine vaccinations such as flu shots and pneumonia vaccine.
The federal government is sending more money to state Medicaid programs that offer preventative services for free or at little cost. Services include tests for high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol; many cancer screenings including colonoscopies and mammograms; counseling to help people lose weight, quit smoking or reduce alcohol use; routine vaccinations; flu and pneumonia shots; and others.