Court: State Misled Judges While Appealing Blocked Medi-Cal Cuts
On Monday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accused Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) and other state officials of intentionally misleading judges during an effort to sustain cuts to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
In 2008, California reduced Medi-Cal reimbursements by 10% for clinics, dentists, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers.
In July, the appeals court ruled that the 10% reductions violated a federal law that requires states to study how rate cuts would affect Medi-Cal beneficiaries' access to care.
In the July ruling, the court also ordered the state to retroactively reimburse the health providers for the amount cut from their fees between July 2008 and March 2009, when new Medi-Cal rates took effect.
The state subsequently appealed the decision, claiming that the court lacked the jurisdiction to block the 10% reductions in July because the cuts had expired in March.
In the latest ruling, the judges accused the state of misrepresenting facts by waiting until its latest appeal to present the jurisdiction argument.
The court also ruled that it has the authority to order the state to reimburse the health care providers, which the state has yet to do.
The court said the case raises questions about the state's credibility in future cases involving California health programs.
Brown's office described the court's comments as a misunderstanding and said state lawyers would work to resolve the issue during the next few days (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/22).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.