Inside This Issue - News
Appeals court asked to review Medi-Cal ruling
February 18th, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and seven other health care groups have asked a federal appeals court to review its decision to allow California to reduce its Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.
The eight groups’ request for the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ruling comes after a three-judge panel agreed late last month to reverse a lower court’s ruling that blocked the 10% cut because it would endanger the health of the state’s poorest residents.
Until the appellate court makes a final ruling, the injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder last spring blocking the cuts remains in effect.
“Many Californians rely on services provided by community pharmacies, such as flu shots, medication counseling and health screenings,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson says. “If implemented, these devastating Medi-Cal cuts could compromise patient health and access to pharmacy services, which would also drive up health care costs.”
The health care groups contend that the Medi-Cal reductions are no longer necessary because California’s finances have improved since the state originally proposed cutting the reimbursement rates.
“The state is in much better fiscal shape now than when these cuts were initially proposed in 2011, and with millions of new Medi-Cal patients entering the program under the Affordable Care Act, the elimination of the Healthy Families Program and the shift of dual-eligible patients, we simply cannot continue to cut resources and expect successful implementation of health reform in California,” says California Medical Association president Dr. Paul Phinney.
California spends over $41 billion a year on its Medicaid program (about 13% of the state’s budget), serving an estimated 7.6 million low-income people.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration expects the Medi-Cal rate cut to save the state $488 million in the next fiscal year.