The Governor’s 2020-21 May budget revision will devastate Medi-Cal programs, providers and, in turn, the millions of vulnerable Californians who now more than ever rely on Medi-Cal for access to care. As proposed, the budget will eliminate essential funding for:

  • Women’s health and family planning

  • Physician services

  • Dental services

  • Student loan repayment for physicians and dentists

California faces hard choices due to the economic devastation from COVID-19. However, the legislature should reject cutting health care services during this crisis, especially when more than 2 million more Californians are seeking care through Medi-Cal. With caseload estimated to reach over 14.5 million in 2020-21, now is not the time to cut access by reducing provider rates and forcing providers to close their practices.

In 2016, Californians voted to increase access to care and bolster the state’s Medi-Cal program by levying a new tax on tobacco products via Proposition 56. Now, as thousands of Californians find themselves facing an uncertain financial future, and the number of patients using Medi-Cal is expected to surge by as many as 2 million people, the Governor has proposed to break this covenant with California voters and divert the money away from ensuring access to care for those who need it the most.

Not only is the Governor proposing to violate the requirements of Prop 56, this budget will severely harm the ability of California’s physicians, dentists and family planning providers to provide health care services, especially when they have already lost significant revenue due to the pandemic.

Prop 56 funding must be maintained if California wants to keep services such as:

  • Over 1,500 clinics and independent providers offering family planning and other critical women’s health services

  • Over 1,000 newly enrolled dentists treating children and adults in Medi-Cal due to Prop 56 rates

  • Preserve the one-third of primary care physician on the verge of closing their practices

  • Retain the 270 newly graduated physicians and dentists who have committed to serving Medi-Cal patients for a minimum of five years in exchange for loan repayment

Now is NOT the time to cut health care funding in California. This budget violates the initiative passed by the voters in 2016. Instead, the legislature must reject this proposal and support the continued use of Prop 56 to support provider access in the Medi-Cal program and to provide timely access and limit geographic shortages to quality health care for those who need it most. 

© 2020 by the Coalition to Protect Access to Care

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