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May 31, 2023


From left to right: Charles Bacchi, President and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans; Francisco J. Silva, Esq., President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association; Jodi Hicks, CEO of Planned of Parenthood of California; Kathryn Austin Scott, Senior Vice President, State Relations and Advocacy for the California Hospital Association; Dustin Corcoran, CEO of the California Medical Association; and Linnea Koopmans, CEO of the Local Health Plans of California

California Medical Association (CMA) CEO Dustin Corcoran and other leaders that are part of a broad coalition of health care providers, hospitals, health care workers, emergency responders, community health centers, Planned Parenthood and health plans joined together to testify before a Assembly Health and Budget Subcommittee joint informational hearing on the Newsom Administration’s proposal to reinstate the managed care organization (MCO) tax in the 2023-24 state budget.  

“This is a generational opportunity to improve Medi-Cal and ensure that patients can access care whenever they need it,” Mr. Corcoran said. “We must seize this opportunity to quickly work toward our shared goal of ensuring that all Californians have equitable access to affordable, high quality health care.” 

Over the past several months, the CMA and the rest of the Coalition to Protect Access to Care have been advocating to reinstate and increase the MCO tax, which expired late last year, to improve Medi-Cal access to care by raising physician reimbursement rates. 

The Governor’s MCO tax proposal represents the best opportunity we have had in the past two decades to make critical and meaningful investments in the Medi-Cal system, but it will only work if the revenue is committed to improving the Medi-Cal program. Medi-Cal provider rates have not been adjusted in more than a decade, and for many providers it’s been more than 25 years – leaving millions of patients insured but without access to life saving health care.

The proposal under discussion in the legislature this week includes some Medi-Cal reimbursement rate increases that begin in the 2023-24 budget year. CMA and the rest of the coalition support those increases and continue to push for greater investment of the MCO tax revenues into increasing reimbursement rates. 

CMA and the coalition are also strongly urging the state to immediately and rapidly allocate the funds raised through this MCO tax to directly invest into the system over the 3.5-year tax period, rather than distributing the funds over 8-10 years as currently proposed. 

“What we hope, at the California Medical Association, is that a Medi-Cal enrollee has the same access to care as someone in commercial insurance. And that a provider in their community can treat the community as it presents itself,” Mr. Corcoran told the committee. “If you're a physician in a community with 60% or 70% Medi-Cal, you should be able to have a 60% or 70% Medi-Cal patient load and be able to keep your doors open at the same time." 

CMA and the Coalition are continuing their efforts, working with the Administration and the Legislature to seize this rare opportunity to make meaningful change in the lives of Californians by making timely access to health care a reality for all. 

 

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