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'Medi-Cal Under Fire'

December 30, 1987

"Study Puts State in Top 10 for Its Medi-Cal Effort," says the headline of a report on Medicaid, released by the Public Citizen Health Research Group (Part I, Dec. 22). God help the nations's poor if California is one of the best.

Actually the report states that California's high rating "demonstrates the overall mediocrity of state Medicaid programs more than it signals the state's excellence." The fact is that our Medi-Cal program has been steadily deteriorating the past six years due mainly to drastic cuts in federal funds. At the end of 1982 several hundred thousand, including 86,000 in L.A. County, were dropped from the program, and the services to those still eligible have been cut. Many communities are without Medi-Cal services, forcing the poor to travel long distances to overcrowded, understaffed clinics.

The report recommends that the federal government establish uniform eligibility standards, services, quality control systems and reimbursement methods, and assume 100% of Medicaid funding with the exception of administrative overhead.

The logical solution is for the United States to join Canada and other civilized nations by establishing a national health service providing health care for all. In the meantime, we in California can move ahead by calling on our legislators and Gov. Deukmejian to enact into law AB2020, which will provide adequate health insurance for every Californian.

SOL LONDE, MD

Bel Air

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