KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Lawsuit Against California Claims Medicaid Provides ‘Unequal System Of Health Care’

Civil rights advocates file suit against California, alleging that care provided by Medi-Cal, the state’s health program for low-income people, is substandard and disproportionately hurts Latinos — by far the largest group of enrollees.

The Associated Press: Latino Plaintiffs Sue California Alleging Poor Health Care
California is harming medical care for more than 13 million lower-income residents, more than half of them Latinos, by failing to pay doctors enough to provide proper care, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges the state violates Latinos' civil rights because poorly paid health care providers balk at providing treatment. (Thompson, 7/12)

California Healthline: California Sued For Allegedly Substandard Medi-Cal Care
The two groups that filed the case hope to get it certified as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Medi-Cal enrollees. The complaint claims that beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the Medicaid program, often experience delays in care or are denied care altogether. And, it says, they may have to travel longer distances to find medical providers who are willing to see them. (Ibarra, 7/13)

Los Angeles Times: Medi-Cal Patients Sue State, Claiming Widespread Discrimination
Thomas A. Saenz, an attorney representing the plaintiffs and president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the state is required to provide coverage to low-income Californians through Medi-Cal that’s equivalent to the care other Californians receive through private insurance or Medicare. But Medi-Cal patients have a harder time finding doctors, wait longer for appointments, end up in the emergency room more often and have their diseases diagnosed later than those in other insurance programs, Saenz said. That’s in part because the state mismanages the health program and delays payments to doctors, making them unwilling to see Medi-Cal patients, he said. (Karlamangla, 7/12)

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