By Professor Brietta Clark
For the past few years, the California legislature has been trying to deal with its fiscal crisis by cutting Medi-Cal spending dramatically. Medi-Cal is California's version of Medicaid -- it is a joint federal-state program that benefits significantly from federal funding, and is also subject to federal law. Health care providers and beneficiaries have used federal law to challenge recent state cuts in federal courts, pretty successfully so far.
The latest round in this battle between providers and the state occurred a few weeks ago, in California Association of Rural Health Clinics v. Maxwell-Jolly (CARHC). CARHC challenged a law enacted last year that eliminated coverage for certain services, including adult dental, podiatry and chiropractic serivces, provided by Rural Health Centers (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. RHCs and FQHCs are located in medically underserved areas, and they are required to treat people without regard to their ability to pay.
Read more at Prof. Clark's Health Care Justice Blog.