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Big Rally In Sacramento To Protest Medi-Cal Rate Cut

Thousands of health professionals will try to change state lawmakers' minds about cutting the Medi-Cal pay rate when they rally in Sacramento today.

— Thousands of health professionals from all over California are holding a rally in Sacramento today. They're protesting against a scheduled 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal pay rates.

Photo credit: Daluke

California State Capital, Sacramento CA

Lawmakers approved the Medi-Cal cut in 2011 when the state was mired in a budget crisis. Doctors and other providers challenged it in court, saying it would hurt patient access.

After the latest ruling in favor of the state, the cut will go into effect unless lawmakers reverse course.

Leticia Carrion, a certified nursing assistant at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside said she's worried about her job if the cut isn't blocked.

"Also, on a very personal note, my mother stays at a healthcare facility," Carrion explained. "Maybe there will be some cuts in the services and the programs they provide. And I'm concerned about that."

Carrion should be concerned, said Palomar Health executive Steve Gold. He oversees skilled nursing facilities in Poway and Escondido.

Gold said the 10 percent cut is based on the rate Medi-Cal paid in 2008. So that means they're facing a cut of 30 to 37 percent on today's rate.

"It's socially unconscionable, because the patients we care for will not be able to be placed locally, and a lot of patients will have to travel far distances along with families to be cared for, if at all," Gold said.

A bill to suspend the Medi-Cal cut has been introduced in Sacramento. Governor Jerry Brown has indicated he's not inclined to reverse healthcare cuts.

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