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Appeals Court Blocks Medi-Cal Rate Cut to Hospitals


Aired 4/20/09


A federal appeals court has blocked the state of California from imposing a five percent cut in the rate Medi-Cal pays hospitals. State lawmakers argue the rate reduction would have saved California 80-million dollars a year. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.


Legislators said the Medi-Cal rate cut was necessary to help the state balance its budget.


But federal judges said lawmakers failed to consider the impact on care, and on the poor's access to medical services.


Erica Murray is with the California Association of Public Hospitals . She says preserving Medi-Cal funding is crucial in these economic times.


"It helps public hospitals continue to do what they're meant to do," says Murray, "Which is to serve as the lifesaving safety net for millions of Californians."


Murray says California hospitals have seen a big increase in uninsured patients since the recession began. Even so, hospitals are facing another cut in funding that's scheduled to take effect in July.


Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News


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