Californians, Community Clinics Feeling the Sting of Recent Medi-Cal Cuts
Many California residents and community clinics are feeling the impact of recent budget cuts to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, the Orange County Register reports.
In February, state legislators cut $122 million from Medi-Cal by eliminating the program's dental and vision coverage for adult beneficiaries. Federal Medicaid law allows states to determine whether to provide optional benefits such as acupuncture, chiropractic services, dental care and vision services.
The cuts took effect July 1 and have prompted not-for-profit dental clinics to lay off employees and institute longer wait times for a growing population of people without dental coverage.
Isabel Becerra, executive director of the Orange County Coalition of Community Clinics, said six of the county's 14 not-for-profit dental clinics have reduced their hours because of the budget cuts. Of the 200,000 patients OCCC sees annually, about 40% need cavities filled or cleanings.
Other Health Cuts Restored, Postponed
The July budget revision package cut $178 million from Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program. However, the Legislature restored the funding losses with a recent bill (AB 1422) that taxed Medi-Cal managed care plans in order to draw down increased federal matching funds.
Although the budget deal also cut $28 million from adult day health care programs, a federal judge recently issued an injunction to prevent the cuts from taking effect during an ongoing lawsuit.Last week, a federal judge also blocked $82 million in scheduled budget cuts to the state's In-Home Supportive Services program (Perkes, Orange County Register, 10/25). 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.