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State Officials Push Co-Pays For Medi-Cal Patients

State officials are once again pushing the idea of charging people on Medi-Cal co-pays.

— State health officials are once again asking lawmakers to approve co-pays for people on Medi-Cal. Federal officials rejected that idea earlier this year.

The rejected Medi-Cal co-payments included charges of up to $50 for emergency room visits.

The new scaled-back version would ask Medi-Cal patients to pay up to $5 for prescription drugs, and $15 for non-emergency visits to the ER.

Anthony Wright directs the non-profit group Health Access California. He admitted those charges are modest, but they can still have a negative impact.

"Even relatively low cost-sharing has a big impact on low-income families and individuals," Wright said. "Even a relatively modest co-pay discourages people from getting care."

State officials say co-pays are needed to help reduce the budget deficit.

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