About 12 million people in California receive Medi-Cal benefits, nearly one-third of the state’s population. In 2011, the state cut reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients by up to 10 percent.
In its proposed budget, the Legislature restores 5 percent of those cuts. But Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration says his budget already includes money for rate restorations. H.D. Palmer is with the administration’s Department of Finance.
"The administration has already put more than $150 million into its version budget to roll back rate reductions that were authorized several years ago by the Legislature," Palmer says.
Palmer says the Legislature’s plan would cost an additional $90 million a year.
Jay Lee is the president of the California Academy of Family Physicians. He’s concerned the administration’s proposal won’t provide enough money to entice more doctors to accept Medi-Cal patients.
"For those who are continuing to see Medi-Cal patients the question is, is there enough there to keep them continuing to see patients as more and more patients have been added to the rolls," he says.
Lee says California has some of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country.