Campaign to fully fund Medi-Cal underway
California’s slow payments to health providers make it difficult for Medi-Cal patients to find a doctor, and costs California hospitals more than $6 billion a year. SACRAMENTO – "We Care for California," a broad coalition of
California’s slow payments to health providers make it difficult for Medi-Cal patients to find a doctor, and costs California hospitals more than $6 billion a year.
SACRAMENTO – “We Care for California,” a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, hospitals, workers, and other healthcare leaders, has launched a statewide paid media campaign calling on the State of California to fully fund Medi-Cal and bring payments to providers in line with the rates paid by Medicare.
The eight-week campaign is the beginning of a sustained effort to help Californians and state leaders understand how the severe underfunding of Medi-Cal harms millions of children, seniors in nursing homes, pregnant women, and people with disabilities, all of whom have difficulty getting access to the healthcare they need.
The campaign includes English and Spanish TV, radio, direct mail, outdoor billboards, and online calls to action. The TV ads are running in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento.
More than half of California children rely on Medi-Cal for basic healthcare, as do two-thirds of the state’s nursing home patients. But today, Medi-Cal is critically underfunded, preventing millions from getting quality healthcare or even getting an appointment with a health provider.
“As Californians, we have a moral responsibility to ensure the most vulnerable among us have access to basic medical services,” said Dr. Noha Abeolata, M.D., a family practitioner and CEO of Roots Community Clinic in Oakland, who is featured in the TV advertisements. “Fully funding Medi-Cal must be a priority in Sacramento. California families are depending on us.”
The coalition is seeking passage of two bills, SB 243 and AB 366, which would fully fund Medi-Cal, and want Gov. Jerry Brown to make significant movement toward fully funding Medi-Cal in his May revised budget.
With the chronic underfunding of Medi-Cal, California ranks 48th in the nation in payments to health providers. As a result, 56 percent of Medi-Cal patients report difficulty finding a doctor, and the severe under-funding costs the state’s hospitals more than $6 billion annually.
“When my son Xavier was suffering from potentially life-threatening allergies, it took more than two months just to see a specialist through Medi-Cal,” said Emily Avila, a Medi-Cal patient from Cathedral City in Riverside County. “No child should have to wait months just for basic healthcare, and we have the power to change this and save lives of California children.”