Patients, providers fear state’s medical budget cuts
Senior Staff Writer
“I’m not a social program, I’m not a number, I’m a human being,” said Janine Ford from her wheelchair.
“What they’re predicting will end my life, so I’m begging for my life,” the Ridge resident said Wednesday at a Grass Valley conference about the possible effects of proposed cuts to the state’s medical budget.
The conference was attended by area agencies and local low-cost clinics who foresee emergency rooms filling and people going without services if Gov. Schwarzenegger’s 10 percent budget cuts cut a swath through Medi-Cal and other state medical programs.
“Medi-Cal will cover a lot fewer people,” said Dr. Joseph Iser, Nevada County’s Public Health Director, because the budget would change the eligibility formula and possibly clinic patient loads.
“The good news is that the legislature will fight this,” Iser said. “At least there’s an effort to push back.”
“This is scary,” said Scott McFarland, director of the Miners Family Health Center clinic. “This reduction will effect 11,000 of our patients,” out of 30,000, who would no longer qualify for state health aid.
The formula to get Medi-Cal would drop the income level for eligibility for a family or individual from $21,000 per year to $8,600 annually, McFarland said.
The clinic director said proposed timing delays in Medi-Cal reimbursements to clinics for half of June and all of July and August would make him turn to local banks to bolster the clinic’s summer cash flow.
The governor’s proposal also eliminates adult dental services from Medi-Cal, “and this would be devastating,” Iser said.
Children’s service are also under attack, Iser said, which would eliminate preventative care and make seriously ill children wait longer for specialty care.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User