The systemic impacts of Medi-Cal cuts…

Some time this month, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will decide on whether to approve some of the steep Medi-Cal cuts that were adopted earlier this year.

Here’s a Health Access one-page fact sheet on those Medi-Cal cuts, which include a 10% cuts to Medi-Cal provider rates; a cap on doctor visits to seven a year; and increased cost-sharing such as $50 for an emergency room visit.

Given that Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, half of which is paid for by the federal government, these cuts need federal approval–especially since these cuts bump up against–if not completely violate–the minimum standards established by federal law. The state is formally seeking a “waiver” from these minimums–but there’s implications if such approvals are granted.

Two articles of note have spotlighted this issue:

* Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee reports about the impacts on providers, on access for patients, the viability of Medi-Cal, and in fact the impact of the health care system. These cuts are a big deal for California.

* In a much-discussed LA Times article, the headline, “California could pose problem for Obama’s healthcare reform“, overstates the case from what Noam Levey ably reports in the text. The article properly documents many of the ways that California continues to lead in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But it appropriately indicates that the proposed Medi-Cal cuts could undermine this progress–and in fact pave the way for other states to go backwards in health care at exactly the same we need to go forward.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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