- A civil rights suit was filed against Medi-Cal this week that alleges program recipients are unable to obtain sufficient healthcare under the program because its reimbursement rates are too low to incentivize enough physicians to take patients.
- It was filed by Latino Medi-Cal recipients represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Health Law Program and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. They argue with Latinos comprising seven million of the 12.7 million program enrollees, the program equates to an unequal system of healthcare that violates the Civil Rights Act.
- The California Department of Health Care Services told the Times it had not yet reviewed the complaint and did not provide any comment.
Medi-Cal has already been drawing scrutiny over patients' inability to find doctors, and its reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the country -- partly because they were lowered during the Great Recession and never restored. That said, the federal/state program currently costs $91 billion a year.
The civil rights complaint highlights the findings of a recent study by the Univerisity of California, Davis concluded Medi-Cal recipients aren't much better off than the uninsured. It also argues the program violates the Affordable Care Act's prohibition against discrimination in federally-funded healthcare programs.
It seeks improved Medi-Cal reimbursement rates and improved program monitoring.