Primary care capacity and the Affordable Care Act: Is Michigan ready to expand Medicaid coverage?

January 28, 2013

A physician speaks with a patient.

Since one of the most immediate questions facing the State of Michigan is whether to expand Medicaid coverage, this issue brief focuses specifically on one area of inquiry—Michigan primary care physicians’ capacity to serve new patients in both Medicaid and the private insurance market.

In the fall of 2012, the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT), in partnership with the Child Health Evaluation & Research Unit (CHEAR) at the University of Michigan, conducted a statewide survey of primary care physicians. The purpose of the survey was to understand the challenges and opportunities primary care physicians are facing in their practices in this era of health care reform.

Our goal was to inform policymakers about a number of key issues ranging from meaningful use of electronic health records to the capacity to care for Michigan residents, especially in light of the expected significant growth in insurance coverage beginning in 2014.

The bottom line of the survey is that primary care physicians in Michigan overwhelmingly anticipate having the capacity to serve more patients with all forms of health coverage, including Medicaid.

Overall, 81 percent of primary care physicians anticipate expanding their practices to include newly insured patients. Of those physicians, 90 percent of pediatricians; 78 percent of internal medicine practitioners; and 76 percent of family physicians reported that they will have capacity to accept additional patients if the number of Michigan patients with insurance coverage increases in the future.


Suggested citation: Davis, Matthew M.; Udow-Phillips, Marianne; Riba, Melissa; Young, Danielle; Royan, Regina. Primary Care Capacity and Health Reform: Is Michigan Ready? January 2013. Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. Ann Arbor, MI.

Special thanks to the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Osteopathic Association in survey development, and to Krishna Davis, Seetha Davis, Lakshmi Halasyamani, Brandon List and Rose Kenitz for data entry.