California Healthline: Bills To Raise Medi-Cal Provider Rates Unanimously Pass First Hurdle

by David Gorn

The Assembly Committee on Health this week unanimously voted to raise Medi-Cal rates for primary care providers to the same level paid by Medicare.

“California spends 30% less per individual than the national average,” said Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who authored AB 1759 along with Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “Medi-Cal payments often do not cover the cost of care.”

That’s why California providers have the second-lowest rate in the nation in accepting new Medicaid patients, Pan said. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid.

The committee also unanimously passed a companion bill, AB 1805, authored by Skinner and co-authored by Pan, which requires the Department of Health Care Services to disregard the 10% payment reductions for Medi-Cal providers that were made in 2011.

“In California, we have more than 10 million people in Medi-Cal,” Skinner said. “That’s over 25% of our state’s population. How can it benefit anyone to be on Medi-Cal if you can’t find a doctor to see you who will take Medi-Cal?”

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