States' ability to slash Medicaid payments rests with top court



A recently revived California Medicaid case may impact whether states receive more freedom to reduce payments to physicians and other healthcare professionals. The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 18 agreed to hear California's appeal of a lower court's decision blocking certain pay reductions for the California Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. The state legislature passed several rounds of cuts beginning in 2008 to offset budget shortfalls. "Obviously we would have preferred [the Supreme Court] not to have taken the case," said Francisco Silva, general counsel of the California Medical Association. But "we are confident that the Supreme Court will get it right and affirm the [circuit court] ruling, which concluded California's move to lower Medi-Cal rates violated federal law."


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