Court To Hear Lawsuit Challenging Medi-Cal Cuts at Some Clinics
Today, a Sacramento County Superior Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging California's proposed elimination of some Medi-Cal benefits, including adult Denti-Cal, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Denti-Cal is the dental benefit provided through Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/11).
The California Primary Care Association filed the lawsuit April 29.
The suit seeks to prevent the state from ending Medi-Cal reimbursements for some services at rural health centers and community clinics that are federally qualified to receive higher reimbursements. The suit asserts that state and federal law requires such centers to provide dental care and other services to all residents, regardless of income.
In February, the Legislature voted to eliminate adult Denti-Cal and other benefits, which would reduce state spending by about $183.6 million.
The cuts are scheduled to take effect July 1.
Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Costs?
Yesterday, Oral Health Access Council released a report arguing that the state's estimated savings of $109.3 million by cutting Denti-Cal would be offset by the loss of $134.5 million in federal matching funds and increased emergency costs from untreated dental problems.
About 2.8 million low-income California adults stand to lose dental coverage if the state eliminates Denti-Cal (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/12).
Temetry Lindsey, president and CEO of Inland Family Community Health Center, said that even though the state is preserving Denti-Cal coverage for children, he expects many dentists will drop out of the program.
Rallying Against Cuts
Meanwhile, San Bernardino County health care workers and advocates on Thursday came together to protest the elimination of Denti-Cal and other programs (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/11).ÂOral Health Access Council's report is available online (.pdf). 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.