On Thursday, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Federal District Court’s earlier decision in CMA et al. v. Douglas et al. to block a 10 percent reimbursement rate cut in the Medi-Cal program. The California Medical Association (CMA), the California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and American Medical Response were all plaintiffs in the case.
“If implemented, the ruling announced today will tragically impact access to care for millions of Medi-Cal patients. In January, the federal court decision to block California state officials from moving forward with a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal payments indicated that California’s fiscal crisis does not outweigh the serious irreparable injury patients would suffer absent the issuance of an injunction,” said Paul R. Phinney, M.D., CMA president.
"Our hope is that state officials and Governor Brown can look at the situation and decide not to move forward with these cuts. It was a tough budget decision that was made when a dire fiscal situation was faced by the state.”
Since then, California voters passed Prop. 30, which will raise taxes, and the state’s finances have improved.
CMA and other coalition partners will be evaluating options moving forward, including requesting an en banc rehearing from the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
If the state moves forward with these cuts, access to care will be devastated, not only for the existing Medi-Cal patients, but also the 900,000 kids moving from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal in 2013 and the millions of patients that will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal under federal health reform in 2014.
“We need to ensure that health insurance isn’t just an empty promise for these patients,” said Dr. Phinney.
In October, the Ninth Circuit Court heard oral arguments in this case on appeal by the state of California. Last February, a lower court had ruled that the cuts would irreparably harm access to care for the state's most vulnerable populations.
The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2011, by CMA.
Contact: Michelle Rubalcava, (916) 551-2543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.