Lack Of Medicaid Funding Cutting Off Primary Care For District Children | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Lack Of Medicaid Funding Cutting Off Primary Care For District Children

Without Medicaid, many children in the District go without primary care.
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Without Medicaid, many children in the District go without primary care.

Doctors at Children's National Medical Center in Northwest D.C. are warning that the government shutdown will impact several District primary care providers that depend on Medicaid funds to care for children.

Dr. David Wessel is a chief medical officer at Childrens National Medical Center. He says Medicaid covers about 90 percent of all children in the District for primary care. Children's National alone gets more than $12 million from Medicaid each month, so there is what he calls a "real and tangible" effect of the government shutdown.

Wessel says more than half the patients at Childrens are covered by Medicaid; other hospitals such as United Medical Center and non-profit clinics are even more dependent on Medicaid dollars.

He says other programs such as WIC, which helps provide healthy food for low-income mothers and babies, vaccination programs and the Ryan White program that covers HIV positive children and teens will be affected.

Wessel says because of D.C.'s unique status, Medicaid funds are reimbursed as they are incurred, so with funds frozen, the impact is immediate.

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