Though Medicaid physician fees grew nearly twice the rate of inflation between 1998 and 2003, they lagged Medicare rates significantly according to a study published on the Health Affairs Web site.

Researchers from the Urban Institute and Center for Studying Health System Change found that Medicaid fees grew 5% annually between 1998 and 2003, compared with 2.6% annual growth in the Consumer Price Index.

Primary care fees increased 41.2% over the five recent years.  Thirty states raised their fees at or above the rate of inflation, including ten that increased them by more than 35%.

Notably, the percentage of all physicians accepting new Medicaid recipients did not change significantly between 1997 and 2001.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the study.