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Senator Ricardo Lara introduces bill to stop implementation of Medi-Cal cuts



April 04, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine 

Sacramento – Today, Senator Ricardo Lara (D – Long Beach) introduced Senate Bill 640, which will stop the implementation of a 10 percent rate cut to California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal). The cut was part of the health services trailer bill (AB 97) to the 2011-12 state budget. SB 640 is co-sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA).


“California has one of the lowest reimbursement rates for Medicaid in the nation,” said Paul R. Phinney, M.D., CMA President. “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.”


SB 640 would block the 10 percent Medi-Cal provider rate cut and would stop the state from ‘clawing back’ rate cuts from providers dating back to 2011.


“CMA applauds Senator Lara for his commitment on this issue,” said Dr. Phinney. “Cutting resources while adding patients to the system will make it hard for Medi-Cal patients to find doctors and will delay much needed federal health reform in California. Senator Lara understands that patients not just in his district, but across the state, will be impacted if these cuts move forward. The cuts in trailer bill AB 97 were proposed 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.”


"This measure protects our most vulnerable communities from the devastating impacts of the cuts to Medi-Cal," stated Senator Lara. "I am proud to partner with CMA and the broad coalition of advocates to ensure that all of our communities have access to health care."


Following approval of the AB 97, 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 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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