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October 11, 2009
Re "Medi-Cal effort nabs few cheaters," Oct. 6 We spent $16.6 million to deny eight people health services? As you wrote, "One congressional oversight committee found that the regulations cost the federal government and six of nine states surveyed this year $16.6 million in new administrative costs but resulted in snagging only eight illegal immigrants." The U.S. can further be proud of money-saving through its healthcare freeloading off Europe, which provides services to tourists.
April 5, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Reginald Clarke is someone Obamacare was designed to help. The 55-year-old, who was homeless for a time, now has an apartment in Gardena and a street-cleaning job that pays him $14,000 a year. He hadn't visited a doctor in four or five years. Then, last fall, his girlfriend told him he would be eligible for Medi-Cal starting Jan. 1. "I was excited. I could go get a physical," he said. "There are a few things I need. " But joy turned to exasperation when Clarke's application, filed in December, was mistakenly rejected - and then seemed to disappear from county and state computer systems.
The doctor chuckled with delight as the brown-haired girl smiled, chanted and swung her arms playfully in the air above her crib. Dr. Stephen Osburn said he felt gratified that Christina, a profoundly retarded 4-year-old, has a chance to develop, maybe even learn a few words, now that he has helped her overcome a debilitating series of illnesses.
February 25, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla
A new report shows that as many as 125,000 young California immigrants may qualify for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. The Affordable Care Act bars insurance subsidies and enrollment in the Medicaid expansion for undocumented immigrants, but a wrinkle in California rules does offer coverage for those with "deferred action status. " The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created by President Obama in 2012 to grant immigrants who came to the country illegally as children -- sometimes called Dreamers -- legal status and work authorization for two-year periods.
Following revelations that doctors at Northridge Hospital Medical Center demanded cash from poor women in labor before providing a common form of anesthesia, federal health regulators have begun a sweeping audit of the hospital's practices and records.
June 25, 1990 | JOHN M. WILSON, John M. Wilson, a former volunteer listener with the Southern California AIDS Hotline, is a free-lance journalist . His reporting on the film and television industry's response to the AIDS crisis won a Los Angeles Press Club award.
My friend Brad was 37 when he lost his struggle with AIDS on March 13. A bright, sweet, gentle guy, he wanted to live as long as possible but was, in effect, forced by the government to agree to die in order to get the care he needed. He had been half-blind, limping around his apartment on painful legs with the aid of a walker. He was hooked up much of the time to an IV that he pulled around with him. His gaunt body was shot through with lymphoma.
June 5, 2012
Re "Medi-Cal works for most enrollees," May 31 Although the California HealthCare Foundation survey reports overall positive experiences for patients navigating Medi-Cal, this is not the case for our state's most vulnerable patients. As medical director of Venice Family Clinic, I know that our sickest patients are struggling to access healthcare services after being transitioned from Medi-Cal fee-for-service care to Medi-Cal managed care. Under managed care, critically ill and disabled patients are uprooted from long-standing relationships with specialists and forced to travel great distances to find doctors who will accept their insurance.
May 20, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Quest Diagnostics Inc., the biggest provider of medical lab services in California, has agreed to pay $241 million to settle a whistle-blower's lawsuit that accused it of overcharging the state Medi-Cal program. The lawsuit also alleged that the Madison, N.J., company paid illegal kickbacks to doctors, hospitals and clinics that sent patients their way. The settlement was the largest in the history of California's False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the state if they have evidence that a government contractor has defrauded a state agency.
October 5, 2011
California and the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court this week to bar doctors and their patients from suing states over the amount paid to healthcare providers for treating Medicaid patients. Several justices seemed to agree when the case was heard Monday, noting that the federal law that created Medicaid didn't give individuals the right to sue. But that's too restrictive a view of who should have access to the courts. If states aren't meeting their obligations under the law and are effectively denying the poor access to the healthcare Medicaid was designed to provide, the public should be able to hold them accountable.
July 10, 2009 | Carol J. Williams
California's budget crisis isn't reason enough to cut $1.1 billion a year in payments to doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare providers to the needy, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A bill passed by the Legislature last year reduced Medi-Cal compensation by 10%, driving away even more providers from the shrinking ranks still taking state patients and endangering their ability to get treatment, a three-judge panel of the U.S.
February 20, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Two Assembly Democrats want to restore funding for California's healthcare program for the poor, laying the groundwork for another debate over how to make the best use of the state's financial recovery. The proposal, AB 1805, would reverse a 10% cut to reimbursements to doctors and other healthcare providers who treat Medi-Cal patients. The reduction was made when the state faced gaping budget deficits, and Gov. Jerry Brown plans on keeping it in place even though a surplus is expected.
February 20, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Luis Rios, who lost his job at a filling station in December at the age of 56, is newly eligible for Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor. Following the advice of state-trained medical insurance enrollment workers, he filled out the paperwork required to get coverage - but has a nagging fear that he may have put his family's financial assets at risk. That's because, in certain cases, Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid, will be able to collect repayment for healthcare services from the estate after a recipient dies, including placing government liens on property.
February 6, 2014
Re "State aid is relief, burden," Feb. 3 Who are the supporters of national healthcare reform who "tout the expansion of Medicaid - called Medi-Cal in California - as one of the great successes of the Affordable Care Act"? Medi-Cal has been failing since its underfunded inception almost 50 years ago. Confirmation of eligibility for the program does not guarantee timely healthcare, as the number of physicians in the program is embarrassingly low. The Affordable Care Act, as with our entire dysfunctional healthcare system, guarantees delays, disappointments and, unfortunately, sometimes death to those without the means to buy better care.
February 5, 2014 | By Samantha Schaefer
" Octomom " Nadya Suleman, who drew international attention in 2009 when she gave birth to octuplets, has been  charged with an additional count of welfare fraud, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said Wednesday. The amended felony complaint includes an additional count of aid by misrepresentation, and alleges Suleman, 38, received nearly $10,000 in Medi-Cal benefits she was not entitled to. Prosecutors said earlier this month that Suleman received $16,481 in state welfare payments during the first half of 2013 that she would not have been sent had she properly disclosed nearly $30,000 in earnings during that same period.
February 2, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Business owner Lori Golden wasn't looking for charity. But the 62-year-old Northridge resident said that's what it felt like when she tried to buy an Obamacare health insurance policy through the Covered California exchange - and instead learned that her income was so low it qualified her to receive benefits through California's healthcare program for the poor. "I'm upset. I sort of feel like I'm being forced to go into Medi-Cal," Golden said. Supporters of national healthcare reform tout the expansion of Medicaid - called Medi-Cal in California - as one of the great successes of the Affordable Care Act. For many needy people, learning they're eligible for the usually free program has been a tremendous relief - assurance that, after decades of forgoing care or worrying about medical expenses, they'll now be able to afford medications, see a doctor or seek emergency care without worrying about ending up broke.
January 10, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Immigrants who are in California illegally should have access to health insurance through a state version of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the Legislature's Latino caucus said Friday. State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said immigration status should be irrelevant if the goal of the federal law is to provide coverage to the uninsured, so he will introduce legislation to involve the state in providing coverage to those in the country illegally. "Immigration status shouldn't bar individuals from health coverage, especially since their taxes contribute to the growth of our economy," Lara said.
July 20, 2009 | Francesca Lunzer Kritz
Routine teeth cleanings, optometric exams, podiatric care and some mental health visits -- all are among the services no longer paid for, as of July 1, for Californians covered by Medi-Cal. Health advocates fear that beneficiaries will read or hear about the budget-inflicted cuts and simply forgo such care. "Over 2 million adults will lose coverage for 10 Medi-Cal benefits and will . . .
September 12, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to scale back his cut to California's public healthcare program, endorsing legislation that would exempt some nursing facilities from a reduction in Medi-Cal funding. A previous effort to protect funding for such facilities stalled in an Assembly committee earlier this year, but the proposal was revived and inserted into a separate bill (SB 239) this week. The measure is expected to be approved by the Legislature on Thursday. Jan Emmerson-Shea, a spokeswoman for the California Hospital Assn., said the potential loss of funding would have been devastating to nursing facilities and forced patients into more expensive treatment centers.
December 29, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
It's one of the next big hurdles for the Obamacare rollout: What will happen when hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians shift from county health plans to the state's huge Medi-Cal system on Jan. 1? Judging from a similar surge in 2011, patients and physicians could see plenty of problems. Starting on New Year's Day - Wednesday - as many as a million formerly uninsured or underinsured people will begin moving onto Medi-Cal rolls and reporting to clinics and hospitals that have agreed to provide treatment at set rates.
December 23, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
California's health insurance exchange said more than 400,000 people have signed up for health plans ahead of Monday's enrollment deadline as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Covered California exchange said the latest figures are based on preliminary data through Sunday, when about 27,000 people picked an insurance company. Enrollment Friday was even higher, at 29,000 people, according to the exchange. "We very much expect today will be a big day," Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said Monday.
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