January 09, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy
Sacramento - Following Governor Brown’s budget unveiling this morning, California Medical Association (CMA) President Richard Thorp, M.D., released the following statement:
“The Governor’s budget demonstrates a clear understanding of the importance that California’s Medicaid (Medi-Cal) program has for the state’s poorest and most vulnerable patients. The initial figures released today indicate that the state will not be moving forward with retroactive collection of a 10 percent cut to the Medi-Cal program, a huge win for physicians and patients in California.
“After voicing a commitment to expand Medi-Cal eligibility and ensure that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California be a success, restoration of the retroactive cut is a huge step in the right direction and the 39,000 members of CMA applaud the Governor and his administration in their efforts to increase access to care.
“Unfortunately, even with the retroactive cut eliminated, California is still last on the nation’s Medicaid reimbursement rate list and has what are arguably the highest practice costs across the country. While this budget will provide some relief to physicians who may have otherwise been forced to stop taking new Medi-Cal patients altogether, it does not go far enough.
“As the rest of the nation looks to California for an example of health reform success, we simply cannot move forward with a 10 percent prospective cut to the Medi-Cal program while simultaneously adding new patients to the program. Upwards of 3 million patients are expected to enter Medi-Cal over the course of the next two years and to ensure they have real access to care, California must also stop the 10 percent cut moving forward.
“In 2011, when AB 97 was passed and signed into law, California was facing dire financial times, but those times have changed and the state should not continue to balance the budget on the backs of California’s neediest patients and their doctors.
“CMA and our stakeholder partners will look toward reforms that will result in real access to care so that health reform is more than an empty promise of an insurance card.”