Medi-Cal cuts could create risks for millions of Californians who depend on the program for treatment of chronic or terminal health conditions, according to a new report, Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Barr, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 9/14).
The patient advocacy group Families USA, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Lung Association collaborated to produce the report, which is one in a series of reports examining how many people with certain chronic diseases access medical care through Medicaid.
The report on California -- released at the same time as reports on Illinois, New York and Texas -- comes as the congressional debt-reduction "supercommittee" seeks ways to slash the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/14). The debt panel is expected to look closely at Medicaid because the program's costs are growing at an unsustainable rate ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 9/14).
Key Points of California Report
According to the report, cuts to Medi-Cal could force many California residents with serious medical conditions to forgo filling prescriptions, visiting a physician or receiving key health screenings (Families USA release, 9/14).
The report noted that Medi-Cal covers millions of Californians who have serious health conditions, including:
- About 1.2 million stroke patients or people with heart disease;
- About 850,510 people with chronic lung diseases;
- About 562,720 people with diabetes; and
- About 140,340 people with cancer ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 9/14).
Paul Billings -- vice president of national policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association -- said that Medicaid cuts could result in higher health care costs and more emergency department visits (Families USA release, 9/14).
Christopher Hansen -- president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network -- said the debt panel should make clear the importance of the health care safety net ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 9/14).