Medi-Cal Cuts Take Effect Amid Lawsuit, Budget Negotiations
On Tuesday, California's 10% cuts in Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal reimbursements were scheduled to take effect as part of efforts to help reduce the state's $15.2 billion budget deficit, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Denti-Cal is the dental program under Medi-Cal.
The cuts were approved by the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in February, but lawmakers are still debating whether or not to cut speech therapy, podiatry, psychiatry and optometry from the therapies and other services covered under Medi-Cal.
Anthony Wright -- executive director for Health Access California, a not-for-profit health advocacy group -- said Medi-Cal covers about 6.6 million low-income Californians, more than half of whom are children.
H.D. Palmer, a Schwarzenegger spokesperson, said Medi-Cal is such a large portion of the state's spending that some of its services must be reduced.
Several groups -- including the California Medical Association, California Hospital Association and California Dental Association -- filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Medi-Cal cuts.
A hearing in a case seeking to stop the cuts is scheduled for July 25 in Los Angeles (Benefield, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/2).