California Expands Medi-Cal While Continuing Cuts

91698621SACRAMENTO – California has been praised for its early embrace of the federal health care expansion. But the new budget has raised questions about the state’s commitment to getting its poorest residents into doctors’ offices and dentists’ chairs.

The spending plan signed Friday provides extra money for more low-income residents enrolling in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. But at Gov. Jerry Brown’s request, the Legislature left in place a 10 percent recession-era cut to most health care providers.

Health advocates say it’s a harmful contradiction that will further reduce the poor’s ability to get into clinics, practices and hospitals.

State finance officials say there are mechanisms in place to stop cuts if they hurt access.

The Brown administration says the state has to be able to pay for all its promises.