California's Governor Newsom Proposes Painful Cuts to Health Care Programs to Close Budget Shortfall

Disaster is coming to some patients on MediCal.   Despite the recent restoration of some MediCal benefits in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom now reports a major shortfall in California tax revenues that support many Medi-Cal benefits.  

Unfortunately this reduction in benefits falls most heavily upon those least likely to be able to afford it.

The number of Medi-Cal recipients increased. With so many Californians losing jobs and health insurance because of the pandemic, the state estimates 2 million more people will sign up for Medi-Cal coverage this year, bringing the total caseload in the health care program for low-income Californians to 14.5 million people.

To pay for the increase in enrollment, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to cut back on some of the benefits patients will receive and the rates doctors will get paid to see them. 

Services like vision care, hearing aids, speech and physical therapy,
podiatry will no longer be covered by Medi-Cal under the Governor's 

Other items projected are a decrease in senior citizen benefits (another reduction on those who can least afford reductions, since most are on fixed budgets from social security, and are at most risk from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Doctors groups, which spent millions to help pass the tobacco tax, say this cut to reimbursement rates will create more pressure and uncertainty on physician practices at a time when many are already facing big drops in revenue because of canceled surgeries and appointments. Doctors say this could force them to limit the number of Medi-Cal patients they see. 

There are many items in the California budget, sent to the legislature, which could be eliminated or put on hold to save our low income population from disaster. Our representatives need to do a line by line analysis and make their recommendations, and not blindly stamp an approval on Newsom.s proposals.  Read the link here