Advocacy Groups Urge CMS Officials To Reject Proposed Medi-Cal Cuts
On Thursday, a group of 33 patient advocacy groups sent a letter to CMS officials urging them to deny Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) request to cut Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 10%, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/25).
In late June, Brown signed a state budget package that includes changes to health and human services programs. For example, the budget aims to reduce state spending by:
- $623 million by cutting health care providers' reimbursements for Medi-Cal by 10%;
- $511 million by requiring Medi-Cal beneficiaries to pay $5 copayments for physician visits and $50 copays for emergency department visits; and
- $41 million by imposing a soft cap of seven physician visits annually and placing a dollar limit on hearing aids for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
California must receive approval from federal officials to go through with the Medi-Cal adjustments (California Healthline, 8/5).
A 90-day federal review period went into effect after Brown signed the budget. A final decision could be delayed because federal officials have said they will need California to provide more data on the cuts' possible effects on access to care.
Details of the Letter
In the letter, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities expressed concern that some health care providers could go out of business as a result of the Medi-Cal cuts.
TheÂ consortium urged CMS to closely examine the possible effects of the cuts on health care access, adding that the cuts would be detrimental especially to individuals with disabilities.
The letter stated, "CMS should be scrutinizing those states where cuts endanger people's ability to live successfully in the community â¦ [and] ensure that states set and maintain their Medicaid rate structures at levels to assure that â¦ enrollees can access necessary services" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.