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Doctors blast Medi-Cal cut

The rate doctors get from the state to treat Medi-Cal patients will be cut by five percent starting in January. The Schwarzenegger Administration says the move will help reduce the budget deficit. But

The rate doctors get from the state to treat Medi-Cal patients will be cut by five percent starting in January. The Schwarzenegger Administration says the move will help reduce the budget deficit. But doctors argue the cut will reduce access for poor Californians. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

For years, doctors have complained Medi-Cal payments don't even cover office expenses. Currently primary care doctors are paid $24 for each Medi-Cal patient visit.

Dr. Jack Lewin is CEO of the California Medical Association. He says the Medi-Cal rate is already the lowest in the country.


Lewin: "To have a cut is such an insult in the program at this point, that in fact many doctors are just gonna say goodbye. Already half the doctors in the state, don't take Medi-Cal patients."


State officials concede the cut will be tough on providers. But officials point out California needs to balance its budget.

The rate cut is expected to save the state $60 million.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.