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Senate Committee Approves Nearly $1.5 Billion In Cuts To Medi-Cal

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Aired 2/18/11

The California Senate Budget Committee has approved a number of cuts to the MediCal program. Doctors are upset about a 10-percent pay cut.

— The California Senate Budget Committee has approved a number of cuts to the Medi-Cal program. Doctors are upset about a 10-percent pay cut.

Doctors complain Medi-Cal already pays one of the lowest Medicaid rates in the country. As a result, many physicians just won't treat Medi-Cal patients unless it's an emergency.

Dr. Ted Mazer is an ear, nose, and throat specialist in San Diego. He stopped taking new Medi-Cal patients a couple of years ago.

"I lose money on each patient under the Medi-Cal program now," Mazer said, "and we have for many years. Taking another 10 percent off of these already ridiculously low rates makes it absolutely impossible to continue to see the patients."

The Senate Budget Committee has also approved higher co-pays for certain services. Regular office visits will cost $5 and trips to the emergency room will run $50. Lawmakers eliminated Medi-Cal coverage for over-the-counter drugs.

Gov. Jerry Brown says the cuts are necessary to help balance the budget.

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