SACRAMENTO -- In the healthcare world, there’s not a whole lot that insurers, doctors and union workers all agree on. But a new coalition of powerful Capitol players from all three groups is hoping to reverse recent budget cuts, pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, to those who provide care to the poorest Californians.
As part of last year’s budget, Brown approved a 10% cut to those who treat patients enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. Expansion of Medi-Cal is a linchpin to the state’s implementation of the new federal healthcare law, which is scheduled to offer expanded coverage on Jan. 1. State officials estimate the number of Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal could increase by more than 1 million over the next several years.
But doctors, hospital officials and others say the rate cuts could threaten the success of the federal law. They say lower reimbursements for treating poor patients will reduce the number of people who agree to treat Medi-Cal patients.
The groups who are rallying against the governor’s cuts include some of Brown’s largest political donors.
Among them are the California Hospitals Assn., which donated $2 million to the to the governor’s tax initiative last year. Also in the new coalition, dubbed We Care for California, is Kaiser Permanente, the Serive Employees International Union's United Healthcare Workers and the California Medical Assn., which have all been strong Brown supporters.