California’s Continued Struggle Facing Budgetary Shortfalls

Woman in Pain

California’s continued struggle facing budgetary shortfalls the state government is looking for any possible way to plug the many holes left behind from years of poor budgeting. This action involves a cut to the existing set annual budgeted funds to Med-Cal by a full 10% across the board within the 2011 state budget. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be announcing their decision on the matter any day now so it is up to the many concerned Californians stepping in to make their voice heard is critical to stopping the implemented cuts. The latest attempt to bail out California includes vital programs such as Medi-Cal which makes it possible for many to get the basic care they need. This is unnecessary and the wrong approach to “balancing” California’s budget.


Many states are looking to close budget shortfall gaps through decreasing funds going to Medicaid. As the State of California continues to deal with a systemic and debilitating budget shortfall further cuts are being made to Medi-Cal in the 2011 budget that has been passed. The truth is that the plan set out through AB 97 is not a viable means of doing it.


The proposed changes in how they are paid out to Medi-Cal pharmacy providers and specified non Medi-Cal participant are to be reduced by a full 10% per AB 97 section 7. Cuts such as these will not and can not fix California’s budget shortfall. These actions are not only unsustainable they are harmful to an already burdened state economy. The cold hard reality is cuts like this will only result in pharmacies on the community level to either discontinue services to Medi-Cal qualified patients or even in some cases cause them to go out of business. Both of which have a direct impact on the citizens reliant on Medi-Cal for their access to the care they need.


The effect that these proposed cuts have on the state are two fold; decrease in revenue and a dramatic decrease in quality service to Medi-Cal patients. The latter being the most crucial as it affects the lives and health of many Californians in ways they don’t deserve. This leaves them with fewer options and higher costs for the same level of health care previously provided. Even in some instances may leave them with nothing.


The greatest single action that can be taken is to write to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Let them know that you appose these cuts and the harmful effects that they will cause. The time frame is short as CMS is slated to come to a decision by the end of the month. For all letters sent to CMS if you could also include a copy to us that would be greatly appreciated.

Please send your letters to the following:

Cynthia Mann, Director

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

Fax: TTY Toll-Free: 866-226-1819

E-mail: [email protected]

Please send a copy of the letter to the following:

[email protected]

or fax it to: 888-385-9120

Tell them that you support health care and the access to quality pharmacy care for all Californians. More over make it clear that you appose this 10% cut which is a bad and poorly thought out policy. It will only reduce the care and access that so many Californians need day-in-day-out. Cutting Medi-Cal only hurts the people that rely on it the most and does not in any way fix the budget. As members of the medical and health fields it will come down to you to have the greatest impact in preventing actions such as this happening and setting a precedent for the near future of it being fine to continually cut Medi-Cal funds.