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Challenges of reforming Medi-Cal come to light as lawsuit accuses state system of discrimination

by AirTalk®

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A doctor speaks to a patient as a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, lies on his desk on September 5, 2012. Adam Berry/Getty Images

Arguing that doctors don’t get paid enough to see Medi-Cal patients and therefore won’t take them on, a group of beneficiaries are suing the state of California for violating the civil rights of Latinos, who make up about half of the people on Medi-Cal.

The lawsuit is not the first time this issue has been flagged. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, sent a letter to the federal government back in 2015 asking it to find that California was violating Latinos civil rights due to how difficult it is for Medi-Cal beneficiaries to access care. The state responded in 2016 and said that there were provisions in place to remedy situations where Medi-Cal beneficiaries are denied timely access.

What are the challenges to reforming Medi-Cal? Even if this lawsuit is successful, what legislative and financial troubles would there be in terms of increasing reimbursements for doctors?

You can read the full complaint here.


Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)

Doug Badger, senior fellow at the Galen Institute, a nonprofit public policy research organization on healthcare issues; he was a senior White House adviser to President George W. Bush on health-related issues

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