Halt Medi-Cal cuts, lawsuit asks

A group of medical associations has filed a lawsuit against the state seeking to roll back $1.3 billion in cuts to California's Medi-Cal healthcare insurance program for the poor approved by the Legislature in February.

The budget cuts, made to help close the state's multibillion-dollar gap, would result in the state reducing the rates it pays doctors -- already the lowest in the country -- by an additional 10%.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including the California Medical Assn. and the California Hospital Assn., argue that the latest cuts would force so many doctors to drop out of the program that access to care for patients would fall to unacceptably low levels.

The complaint, filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Monday, cites state and federal regulations that the plaintiffs argue require Medi-Cal patients to have the same level of access to doctors as people with private health insurance.

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