Calif. Medical Association Files Brief to Protest Medicaid Cuts

A group of plaintiffs including the California Medical Association (CMA) has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in protest of budget cuts to California's Medicaid program.

The brief argues that patients, physicians and other providers "have the right to file suit against government officials at the state and federal level who act outside the scope of their authority," according to a CMA announcement. "In this instance, the state of California has sought to cut the Medi-Cal program, despite the fact that such cuts are in violation of federal law."

Medi-Cal is the name of California's Medicaid program. The program is equally funded by the state and the federal government, and provides healthcare services and technology for low-income individuals, families, seniors and persons with disabilities.

In the announcement about the brief, CMA General Counsel Francisco Silva said, "California patients and physicians are directly affected by the drastic cuts to California's Medicaid program. The state has tried to implement these cuts without federal approval and in violation of federal law. The law requires the state to study and consider the impact that cuts like this will have on patients' access to care."

CMA's announcement last week said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals "held that the California Medical Association and the other provider organizations have the right to seek an injunction in federal court under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution to stop the Medi-Cal rate cut because it conflicts with federal Medicaid law."

CMA added, "The state asserts that neither patients nor providers can challenge any state action that violates federal Medicaid law. If patients and provider organizations cannot challenge those violations of federal law, the impact would be devastating to Medi-Cal patients that rely on the program for care."

Oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled for Oct. 3, CMA says.

The California Medical Association (cmanet.org) represents 35,000 physicians within the state, in various types of practices and specialties.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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