A federal court has halted the 10% Medi-Cal provider rate cut, as reported by Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee.
It’s a temporary victory as we await the inevitable appeals by the state, which approved the cut earlier this year, and which started on July 1st. The Budget Conference Committee proposal sought to restore those cuts in September, but that is in the context of a proposal with over $8 billion in revenues: the Governor’s budget did not make those restorations.
The court agreed that the Medi-Cal cuts would reduce access for the 6.5 million children, parents, seniors and people with disabilities that depend on Medi-Cal coverage. Many providers already don’t take patients with Medi-Cal coverage, given that the reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the nation.
But this doesn’t means the fight over health care cuts is over, not by a long shot. We need to be as vigilant as ever.
This suit was only about the provider cuts. Other cuts sought to reduce the benefits provided to Medi-Cal patients. Others–including ones adopted by even the Conference Committee, and voted for by the Assembly Democrats on Sunday–seek to reduce the number of Californians, particularly children, on Medi-Cal coverage.
What this court decision makes clear is the stark choice for the budget negotiators: we need to raise the revenues needed to prevent the cuts that are so drastic, they may be illegal.