Governor Brown’s plans to charge low-income patients for medical care they receive through the Medi-Cal program were rejected by Federal health officials. The copays were part of Governor Brown’s budget balancing “act”, and it was hoped that the state would save $296 Million by having poor people make co-payments. Over 8 million are in the Medi-Cal program, and many are children or elderly people.

The budgetary plan was to have physicians and hospitals collect the copays, and make the decision to deny coverage if the copays were not made. Medical providers complained that this was a “back-door” cut in reimbursement rates, because the providers would not want to “refuse” coverage for people that could not afford the copays.

Legislative advocates applauded the Federal health officials, and warned that imposing copays on poor people would worsen the problem by making them avoid the health care system entirely, until an emergency occurred. Thereby driving up costs.

Stay tuned for more details.

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