Supreme Court Hears Case Brought By San Diego Physician
Monday, October 3, 2011
Aired 10/3/11 on KPBS News.
There's a San Diego connection to the first case the U.S. Supreme Court heard in its new term. The case involves a San Diego doctor who's suing the state over cuts to the Medi-Cal program.
SAN DIEGO There's a San Diego connection to the first case the U.S. Supreme Court heard in its new term. The case involves a San Diego doctor who's suing the state over cuts to the Medi-Cal program.
A History of Medi-Cal Physician Payment Rates
A report from the California Health Care Foundation on the history of physician rates in the Medi-Cal program, beginning in 1965.
In 2008, San Diego ear, nose and throat specialist Ted Mazer and other parties filed suit to block a 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal payments to physicians. California lawmakers said the cuts would help balance the state's budget.
Mazer said the rate Medi-Cal paid doctors was already too low to even cover expenses. Mazer said more and more doctors are just refusing to treat Medi-Cal patients, and that reduces access to care.
"We already know, it's been well established, that access to care has declined," Dr. Mazer pointed out. "It is not satisfactory, and it doesn't even meet federal statute."
So far, the courts have blocked the 10 percent cut from going into effect. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Mazer has the legal standing to sue the state.
Meanwhile, surveys show more than half of all California physicians have refused to treat new Medi-Cal patients, except in an emergency.
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