San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

SFMS/CMA Responds to Court’s Decision on Medi-Cal Cuts

Today, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an en banc request from the plaintiffs in CMA et al. v. Douglas et al. to rehear the case ruled on by a three judge panel of the court in December.

A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit court overturned a Federal District Court decision to stop a 10% Medi-Cal cut. The Federal District Court’s ruling in February of 2012 stated that “California’s fiscal crisis does not outweigh the serious irreparable injury patients would suffer absent the issuance of an injunction.”

“While we are not surprised by the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, we are certainly disappointed, as the 10% cut to Medi-Cal will have devastating effects on California’s poorest and most vulnerable patients,” said CMA President Paul Phinney, MD. “California already has the lowest Medicaid rates in the nation and with the implementation of health reform, millions of new patients will be enrolled in the program in coming months.”

In spring of 2011, the California Legislature passed and Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 97, which included a 10% reimbursement rate cut for physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other Medi-Cal providers. Federal approval was required before the state could implement its proposed cuts.

“Our fight does not end here,” Dr. Phinney added. “As part of the We Care for California Coalition, we will continue to advocate that these dangerous cuts be stopped. With strong bipartisan support on the issue and on behalf of patients across the state, we intend to make our voices heard on this issue.”

The ruling today makes our efforts as part of the We Care for California coalition that much more meaningful, and to that end, we hope to see you at the coalition’s rally in Sacramento on June 4. Cutting California’s patient safety net will impact access to care, as the State implements health reform.

Click here for more information about the June 4 We Care for California rally.

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