California Doctors Again Press For More Money To Treat Poor Patients
California doctors have long decried California's Medi-Cal rates, which are lower than those of Medicaid programs in 45 other states and the District of Columbia.
This article first appeared March 30, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.
California's doctors and dentists have renewed their push for more money to treat Medicaid patients now that the state has been spared the drastic cuts proposed under the failed GOP health care bill.
But Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown — and some health advocates — say they have other priorities for improving the low-income health program, which serves some 14 million residents, or about a third of the state's population.
Doctors had pinned their hopes for better pay on a new tobacco tax passed by voters in November. Proposition 56 was estimated to add about $1.2 billion to the state's Medi-Cal fund for 2017-18. But Brown's proposed budget in January disappointed providers: He did not recommend raising doctors' Medi-Cal rates, instead earmarking the money to cover the program's overall costs.
California doctors have long decried California's Medi-Cal rates, which are lower than those of Medicaid programs in 45 other states and the District of Columbia. They argue that skimpy pay deters many doctors and dentists from treating poor patients.
Earlier this month, the California Medical Association and the California Dental Association, representing doctors and dentists, released their own budget proposal seeking to boost those payments. The proposal suggests giving doctors annual bonuses of up to $15,000 based on the proportion of their patients on Medi-Cal. The price tag on their plan could be as much as $607.5 million.