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Measure To Reverse Medi-Cal Pay Cut Advances

Aired 5/1/13 on KPBS News.

California lawmakers seem to be inclined to prevent a 10 percent Medi-Cal pay cut to doctors and hospitals from taking effect.

— Momentum is building in the state legislature to reverse a looming 10 percent cut in the rate Medi-Cal pays doctors and hospitals. The pay cut is scheduled to take effect on June 1st.

Escondido’s Palomar Medical Center.

Lawmakers originally approved the cut two years ago when the state was in financial trouble.

Doctors say the Medi-Cal rate is already so low, that it doesn't even cover their costs. They argue cutting it by 10 percent will dissuade doctors from treating Medi-Cal patients.

Palomar Health executive Steve Gold oversees two skilled nursing facilities in Escondido and Poway. He said the cut would cost Palomar about $12 million this year.

"We'd have to make a business decision about whether or not we could afford to provide the levels of care we do," Gold explained. "We either have to close beds, or very, very carefully pick and choose the kinds of patients we except."

The bill to reverse the pay cut is getting bipartisan support. The Assembly Health Committee unanimously approved the measure earlier this week.

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