Court decision a boost for California's budget
A Thursday decision by a federal appeals court could be worth $659 million a year for California's budget.
The court's ruling allows the state to move forward with a cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, meaning doctors and other healthcare providers will be paid less for providing services to poor Californians who use the program.
Gov. Jerry Brown tried to make the cut in June 2011, but lawsuits and negotiations with the federal government had placed it on hold until now. Healthcare providers who sued to block the cuts say they'll appeal Thursday's decision.
Still, administration officials are preparing to save $659 million annually. The administration's budget projections always expected that the state would win the case eventually, but the victory came sooner than expected, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance.
The court ruling is also retroactive, which allows the state to try recouping $245 million that was paid in the year and a half since the cut was supposed to start.
Palmer said the state would pursue the retroactive savings, but did not say how.
The full story, written with Maura Dolan, ran in Friday's Los Angeles Times.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Protesters criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to cut Medi-Cal spending in January. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times