Medi-Cal

Megan Baier

LA cancer screening center closes doors

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.

ashby wolfe

The trouble with Medicaid

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.

Babies, bathwater and billions

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.

In health and human services, demand grows while funds shrink

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.

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