CHA News Article

CHA Members Participate in Hearing, Press Conference on New Medi-Cal Legislation

CHA members joined lawmakers and dozens of patients and other health care providers yesterday at the state Capitol to announce legislation aimed at restoring Medi-Cal funding and increasing Medi-Cal payment rates. Organized by the We Care for California Coalition — of which CHA is a member — a press conference spotlighted the need to rescind Medi-Cal cuts made in 2011 and increase funding levels to match those paid by Medicare for the same services. Immediately following the press conference, the Senate and Assembly health committees held a joint informational hearing to discuss the issues surrounding Medi-Cal payment rates and the corresponding access to care issues that affect millions of Californians.

“Expanding access to health care coverage, as we have done under the ACA, is a significant accomplishment, but in order to truly be revolutionary that coverage must be accompanied by meaningful access to a provider,” said Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa), chair of the Senate Health Committee, at the press conference. “Unfortunately, millions of Californians in the Medi-Cal program lack that access because we pay providers an embarrassingly low rate. A Medi-Cal card needs to be more than an empty promise.”

The joint hearing also examined two companion bills that have been introduced this year to address the problem – SB 243 (Hernandez) and AB 366 (Bonta, D-Alameda). The bills would not only repeal prior Medi-Cal rate cuts, but would increase payment rates for inpatient hospital services and most outpatient services.

“Medi-Cal reform is the most important health care issue facing California in 2015,” said Sharon A. Spurgeon, CEO of Coalinga Regional Medical Center. “Hospital officials appreciate a thoughtful discussion with legislative leaders and the Governor to ensure Californians who today have coverage also have access to medical care.”