The cuts are released, and no surprise, they are bad. They are familiar to those who went through the previous budget crisis. Many of them are cuts that previous California legislatures rejected as too extreme. It’s like a horror film where the monster won’t stay dead.
Budget-balancing reductions in Medi-Cal and related programs include:
* PROVIDER RATES CUT: The proposal would reduce most provider rates by 10 percent. This includes reducing rates for physicians, medical service providers, and managed care plans, and shifting federal Safety Net Care Pool payments from designated public hospitals to other programs, allowing a corresponding reduction in General Fund spending. This also includes reductions in reimbursement rates for hospitals that do not contract with Medi-Cal; payments to certain long-term care facilities; payments to Medi-Cal Disproportionate Share Hospitals.
* MEDI-CAL BENEFITS CUT: The proposal eliminates certain optional Medi-Cal benefits, including dental for adults, chiropractic care, incontinence creams and washes, acupuncture, audiology, optometry, opticians and optical labs, podiatry, speech therapy and psychology, for the 6.6 million Californians in Medi-Cal.
* INCREASED MEDI-CAL SHARE-OF-COSTS: The proopsal ends payment of Medicare Part B premiums for Medi-Cal share-of-cost beneficiaries, who are lower-income seniors and people with disabilities.
* ADDITIONAL PAPERWORK, LOWER ENROLLMENT: The proposal reinstates quarterly status reports for Medi-Cal eligibility, increasing the administrative burden on Medi-Cal patients and making it harder for them to stay on coverage.
* COUNTY ENROLLMENT CUTS: The proposal also reduces Medi-Cal payments to counties.
* HEALTHY FAMILIES CUTS: The 800,000+ children in the Healthy Families program will be impacted by reductions in rates, increased premiums and co-pays, and establishing an annual cap on dental benefits.
* OTHER CUTS IN ACCESS TO CARE PROGRAMS: There will be 10 percent reduction in provider payments for California Children Services (CCS) Program, the
Genetically Handicapped Person Program, Child Health and Disability Prevention
Program (CHDP) and the primary care and rural health programs. There will also be a 10 percent reduction in county case management of CHDP and CCS clients, and grants and
payments to safety net clinics.