The California Ninth Circuit Court heard oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by the California Medical Association (CMA) and a large coalition of organizations seeking to prevent the state from cutting Medi-Cal provider reimbursements by 10 percent. A lower court had ruled in February that the cuts would irreparably harm access to care for the state's most vulnerable populations. The state of California has appealed the decision.
“[The lower court's] ruling clearly indicated that California’s fiscal crisis does not outweigh the serious irreparable injury plaintiffs would suffer absent the issuance of an injunction,” says James T. Hay, M.D., CMA's immediate past president.
The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2011 by CMA in conjunction with the California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, American Medical Response and the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers.
In February, Judge Christina Snyder of the California Central Federal District Court ruled The federal Medicaid Act requires that government-insured and privately insured patients have equal access to medical care. If the state and federal government continue to cut these programs, physicians will be forced to stop taking new patients, meaning that access to care will be greatly impacted.
“In January of this year, a federal court issued the decision to block California state officials from moving forward with a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal payments,” said James T. Hay, M.D., CMA Immediate Past President.
In spring of 2011, the California Legislature passed and Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 97, which included a 10 percent reimbursement rate cut for physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other Medi-Cal providers. Federal approval was required before the state could implement its proposed cuts.
A ruling on this hearing is expected later this year or in early 2013.
Contact: Michelle Rubalcava, (916) 551-2543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.