Given that Medi-Cal covers around 5.5 million children—more than half of kids in the state—the number of children not accessing all the preventive services they’re entitled to accounts for close to a quarter of California’s children.
A federal judge prelimarily approved a lawsuit settlement earlier this month that would require the state to better provide in-home health care to California children and young adults with complex medical needs.
As rumors swirl in Los Angeles communities about proposed changes to federal immigration policy on who is considered a “public charge,” medical and legal aid providers are countering misinformation they say is putting immigrants’ health at risk.
Many counties already offered free rides, but they were rarely used. A new state law requiring free transportation is connecting many more low-income Californians to care.
The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles — one of the oldest cancer screening clinics in California — plans to shut down today after treating its last patients. The center is a victim of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to freeze enrollment in a cancer screening program for low-income women on Jan. 1 and pay for routine mammograms only for women after the age of 50. Those moves caused an abrupt drop in the Elizabeth Center’s patient load and revenues, which had already been strained as its costs exceeded what it was earning from the state.
A patient has asthma and needs medication to prevent a possible trip to the ER. The doctor prescribes it. But the state bureaucracy that runs the Medi-Cal program puts up a roadblock. After hours of follow-up, the doctor manages to navigate the system for her patient. The story illustrates why so many doctors have stopped taking Medi-Cal patients.
If someone handed Governor Schwarzenegger a check for a billion dollars, you probably wouldn’t expect him to tear it up or send it to Washington, D.C. to give to other states. But that’s exactly what he has proposed doing in his FY 2010/11 budget. And his budget would toss a million children’s reliable health care overboard at the same time.
California enters 2010 in extraordinary fiscal circumstances, with a significant structural budget deficit that continues to require spending reductions in all areas of state government. At the same time, caseloads in our state’s biggest health and human services programs have grown dramatically in recent years, a reflection of both policy decisions to support the state’s safety net as well as the more recent dramatic economic downturn.