I’m working with my colleagues across the aisle and across the Capitol to author and pass milestone pieces of legislation that will improve our broken healthcare system. In the Central Valley, we have seen coverage expand, yet unfortunately, we don’t have enough doctors to meet our growing healthcare needs. We have had a doctor shortage for years. Our current doctors are unable to care for the growing Medi-Cal community, leading to a lack of access. Over the past few months, I’ve met with many working in our hospitals, health centers and doctors offices to see what’s working and what’s not. I’m committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue with you as I continue to seek solutions.
Many of our best and brightest doctors live and operate in big cities and highly populated areas. One of the reasons for this is because these areas are where most Graduate Medical Education ("GME" residency programs) are located. Since a physician will spend several years in residency, most physicians tend to stay and practice in the cities where they fulfill their residency, creating a shortage of physicians in rural areas like the Central Valley. H.R. 3451 works to address this issue.
Doctors typically get reimbursed less for services to Medicaid patients compared to patients with other insurance. This creates a disincentive for physicians to perform services in areas that have a high-Medicaid population, such as the Central Valley, which this bill seeks to address.