MEDI-CAL: Luring Providers into Program is Daunting
A Sacramento Bee editorial bemoans the shortage of participating physicians in Medi-Cal -- especially specialists. The editorial claims that the "underlying issue isn't doctor distaste for seeing poor people, but a reluctance to be financially disadvantaged by doing so." Some fee-for-service payment schedules have not been adjusted for almost two decades while health providers such as nursing home aides "could make as much flipping burgers." The editors caution against quick fixes: "[t]hrowing money in an across-the-board strategy may resonate as politically fair, but it won't be nearly as effective as a varied approach" because each part of the state's health system, including physician specialties, is "its own distinct market." The editorial lauds Gov. Gray Davis' (D) plan to spend some of the state's budget surplus to boost Medi-Cal programs by 10% and concludes that if the funds Davis proposes are "targeted to areas of the greatest need, [they] will stretch their impact even further" (6/1).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.