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California medical group warns against Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts

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Despite a federal appeals court ruling Thursday allowing California to cut Medi-Cal reimbursement payments, a spokeswoman for the California Medical Assn. said the group hoped the state would decide against doing so.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder granted injunctions blocking a 10% cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to healthcare providers. State officials had said the court’s injunctions were costing the state more than $50 million a month.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the injunction was unwarranted. “Neither the state nor the federal government ‘promised, explicitly or implicitly’ that provider reimbursement rates would never change,” a three-judge panel concluded.

Molly Weedn, the medical association spokeswoman, warned the cuts would make it difficult for doctors to accept new Medi-Cal patients. She noted the law approving the cuts was passed in May 2011, when “things were much worse off.”

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Following the passage of Proposition 30’s tax increases in November, “it is a different financial time,” she said. She said the association’s lawyers were still reviewing the ruling.

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-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco


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