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Doctors Livid About Medi-Cal Pay Cut

— Doctors are shaking their heads about an appeals court decision that allows the state to cut the reimbursement rate for treating Medi-Cal patients. A three-judge panel of the 9th District Court of Appeals ruled California can cut the rate it pays physicians by 10 percent. Doctors say Governor Jerry Brown's decision to cut their pay will hurt access to care.

Surveys show less than half of all primary care doctors in California treat Medi-Cal patients, and less than one-third of specialists do. Physicians say that's because the reimbursement rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

Dr. Ted Mazer, an ear, nose and throat specialist in San Diego, said he loses money on each Medi-Cal patient.

"An individual physician can only take so many Medi-Cal patients before they're upside down," Mazer explained. "I'm in practice here in San Diego 24 years. There has been one, I think, 3 percent increase in payment in that 24 years."

A spokesman for the governor says the 10 percent pay cut will save the state money, while allowing California to provide quality care for Medi-Cal patients.

Mazer said both of those things are a lie.

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