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Millions Of Poor Californians Face Higher Medical Costs

Audio

Aired 7/5/11

Health care just got more expensive for millions of poor Californians. The new state budget forces people on Medi-Cal to pay more, and get fewer services.

— Millions of low-income Californians will have to cough up more money when they go to the doctor. The state's new budget deal includes a number of cuts to the Medi-Cal program.

People on Medi-Cal will face higher co-payments when they see a doctor, and they'll be limited to seven doctor visits a year. They'll also pay more for going to an emergency room and hospital stays.

Anthony Wright directs the non-profit group Health Access California. He said everyone will feel the pain.

"All the details are bad, but overall, this is undermining the health system that we all rely on," Wright said. "It's also undermining our economic recovery, because for every dollar we cut, we're losing another dollar in federal matching funds."

The new budget also cuts the rate Medi-Cal pays doctors by 10 percent. About half of all physicians already won't see Medi-Cal patients unless it's an emergency.

The rate cut could further limit access to care for Medi-Cal patients.

More than 7.5 million Californians get Medi-Cal coverage. The vast majority of them exist on incomes below the poverty level.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 5, 2011 at 12:07 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Just goes to show how concerned our politicians are over health care for Americans.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 5, 2011 at 9:31 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Well "politicians" have indeed attempted some form of national health care system since the time of Truman--only to meet intransigence in one form or another.

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Avatar for user 'dwgslong'

dwgslong | July 5, 2011 at 9:39 p.m. ― 3 years ago

California hospitals cannot turn away emergency care. If Medi-Cal patients can't see their doctors more than 7 time a year, they will come to the emergency room. If doctors limit even more seeing Medi-Cal patients, they will come to the emergency room. Even if Medi-Cal patients can't meet the co-pay for the emergency room care, they will come to the emergency room, know they need not pay for that care. If you feel the wait is too long now for that emergency room visit, or the cost too high for that care, watch your next bill go up. So, no I do not see any limit in access for Medi-Cal patients, they will shift it all to the hospital emregency room as their primary provider. No hospital can survive that hit, especially your local rural hoapital. What is needed are rules / guidelines that allow a patient to be triaged, then placed into true emergency care or to clinic care at a lower cost.

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Avatar for user 'nebbertron'

nebbertron | December 1, 2011 at 8:38 p.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

What practical differences do cuts to Medi-cal make? A Medi-cal beneficiary gives you some idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKrK9r...

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