Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates for Physicians Need to Increase, San Jose Mercury News Says
The Medi-Cal rate-setting system for physician reimbursement is "just plain irrational," a San Jose Mercury News editorial says, adding that the rates are "so low that a doctor loses money just by seeing a patient." The editorial advocates a rate-setting system similar to one outlined in a recent Legislative Analyst's Office report that would set rates at 80% of Medicare payments. Using a "comprehensive system, updated annually, with fair but not overly generous payments," the Medicare system is a "model of simplicity compared to Medi-Cal," the editorial says. However, the editorial notes that Gov. Gray Davis (D) and the state Legislature must also appropriate Medi-Cal funding, and "in a year when a huge surplus has managed to disappear in just six months, it's not likely to show up." Saying that "physicians can't afford to give their services away," the editorial concludes, "The Legislature should commit itself to improving reimbursement rates, and actually fund them as soon as money becomes available" (San Jose Mercury News, 6/4).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.