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Appeals Court Rules State's Medi-Cal Cuts To Doctors Are Illegal

A federal appeals court decision could make it tougher for state lawmakers to make cuts to the Medi-Cal program. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state can't make cuts in federally-required programs just to save money.

Governor Schwarzenegger has tried to lower Medi-Cal payments to doctors and hospitals by 5 percent. He also wanted to cut in-home care workers pay by almost 20 percent.

The appeals court says the state can't make those decisions without studying the effect on access to care.

Attorney Stacey Leyton represents a union of in-home supportive services workers.

"What this means is that in the future," said Leyton, "when the state is considering what kinds of Medi-Cal cuts or other cuts it wants to make, it can't put blinders on and ignore the impact that those cuts will have on low-income Medicaid recipients."

A spokesman for the governor argues the decision interferes with the state's ability to manage its finances.

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