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We Have Stopped Payment Cuts to Providers of Medi-Cal !

San Francisco, Feb. 18, 2009. Over 200 people protested California’s renewed attempt to make a 10% cut in payments to doctors, pharmacies, clinics, dentists, and adult day health centers that provide care for Medi-Cal patients.  Dozens of patients, many in wheelchairs, gave moving testimony that the cuts would either kill them or destroy their quality of life. 

The Feb. 18 protest was initiated by SF Gray Panthers, and co-sponsored by California Disability Community Action Network, SAN, Healthcare Action Team and SF Independent Living Center.

Doctors, pharmacies, and clinics say they cannot accept more Medi-Cal patients if these cuts take place. California is already near the bottom in payments to providers and the number of providers.

Last summer, Medi-Cal patients, pharmacists, and SF and Sacramento Gray Panthers successfully sued against these cuts and blocked them, saying they would damage patient care for the state’s poorest. Today, California is appealing the Court ruling, in order to re-impose the cuts and recover  the money they lost from the earlier ruling.

(The State's appeal to allow it to re-impose the 10% cuts to Medi-Cal providers was later rejected by the higher court. In fact, the State has lost all of its appeals to re-impose these cuts, including one appeal that was made to the US Supreme Court. We won this one! )

As of February, 2009 the State is pressing for other devastating and permanent cuts to Medi-Cal, including: (1) eliminating eligibility for many poor people and immigrants; (2) eliminating the so-called "optional benefits" of dentistry, optometry, speech therapy, and mental health care; and (3) higher costs for the aged, blind, and disabled. Some may be postponed with Federal stimulus money, but the State will try to re-impose them in future years.  Prepare to fight! More of us will need Medi-Cal!    (Thanks to Bill Carpenter for all these photos and the video.)

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