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California freezes Medi-Cal payments to thousands of healthcare facilities

Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2008

Thousands of medical providers who care for low-income Californians are scrambling to find funds after lawmakers failed to pass a budget, forcing the state to halt payments to them. State officials put the healthcare facilities on notice that payments from the Medi-Cal insurance program for the poor will be frozen until a budget is approved. Although most of the facilities have no immediate plans to turn away patients, the providers warn that a budget stalemate will affect care. In the meantime, they are turning to banks, foundations, and their own reserves for emergency cash to pay the bills.