A California physician is concerned that the federal
government's requirement to approve all state rate cuts will
diminish state control over healthcare programs.
Last week the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
California's decision to cut 10 percent from Medi-Cal rates for
physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies. The court said the state
must defer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
which said rate cuts would not reduce access to care. The HHS must
approve all rate cuts and agreed to California's rate cut
Bay Area-based physician, Dr. Marilyn Singleton, finds that
"I don't like what this
means for state control over various healthcare programs," she
tells OneNewsNow. "And this is the problem of having the joint
control of being involved in a federal/state program if the federal
government has the final say."
In October 2011, the HHS said cutting Medi-Cal rates will not
reduce access to care.
"So we end up with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act being able to be a conduit, sort of a dictatorship of
healthcare," states the California physician. "I do not like that
at all, and I'm sure many physicians will not like that -- and that
might be what be tips them over the edge of no longer taking
In addition, Singleton says the cuts will cause physicians to
provide less care because they will not be paid enough to offer
The federal government covers at least half of the cost of
Medi-Cal, which is California's version of Medicaid.