Gray Panthers of San Francisco
March, 2006 Newsletter

Medicaid/Medi-Cal Care Cut to the Bone


While giving the rich billions in tax cuts, and spending billions to kill Iraqis for oil, the US recently cut $39 billion* in medical care and other services to the poor over the next five years, including the first entitlement cuts in nine years.

Medicaid/Medi-Cal will charge co-payments for doctor visits, drugs, and other services, including, for the first time, care for children. 80% of the $1.3 billion “savings” over five years will come from healthcare denied to beneficiaries who cannot afford co-pays. For the first time, doctors will be empowered to deny treatment. Over ten years, 31% of recipients will have higher drug co-pays. Of these, one half are below the poverty line, and one third are children. 20% will also have higher co-pays for doctor care in clinics.

Medicaid/Medi-Cal will also charge premiums for the first time. 65,000 will lose Medicaid entirely, 60% of whom are children. Other estimates are that 16 to 49% of recipients will be unable to afford premiums and will drop out.

Medicaid/Medi-Cal benefits will be cut $1.3 billion over five years, affecting 1.6 million recipients. Adult care expenses will be cut by a third, with cuts in dental, vision, mental health, etc.

Finally, recipients will be required to show birth certificates or passports to qualify or re-qualify. An estimated 7-9% of senior, low-education, and rural residents lack these documents. Several million are expected to lose coverage this way.

Medicare cuts are even greater, as premiums are hiked and payments frozen for home health jobs.

In 1983 the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote: “Only when society is fully able to come to grips with death and dying is it likely that policies and procedures for decisions not to treat will not only be formulated but will also be followed. This period is likely to be hastened as financial constraints force the issue.” These cuts are clearly pre-meditated murder.

*Figures are from the Cong. Budget Office.

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