CMA introduces bill to stop implementation of Medi-Cal cuts

April 05, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Contracting Payor Issues and Reimbursement 

A bill sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) that would prevent the implementation of a 10 percent reimbursement rate cut to California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) was introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D - Long Beach) in the Senate committee on rules on Thursday.

Senate Bill 640 would not only block the Medi-Cal provider rate cut, it would also stop the state from back-dating the cuts to 2011 and requiring physicians to reimburse the state.

“California has one of the lowest reimbursement rates for Medicaid in the nation,” said CMA President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. “At a time when millions of new patients will be entering the program under health reform, the state should not be looking to rate cuts as a budget solution.”

The provider cuts were part of a budget bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. “This bill was passed when California was facing an enormous budget deficit. Those times have changed and there is absolutely no excuse for punishing California’s poor and vulnerable patients any longer,” Dr. Phinney said.

CMA along with the California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, California Association of Medical Suppliers, Aids Healthcare Foundation and American Medical Response, filed suit in 2011 against both the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeking to stop implementation of the cuts. That case is currently being considered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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