Thursday, June 05, 2008

Medi-Cal Under Assault

Today I went with my nurse, Ernie to a protest rally at Lindbergh Park in San Diego to oppose Governor Schwarzenegger and the California State legislature's approval of a 10% cut in Medi-Cal (California's version of Medicaid) reimbursements to health care providers. These cuts are supposed to take effect on July 1. It is hoped that protest and petitions will stop these disastrous cuts. I was disappointed that the turn out was not larger for such an urgent issue. There were less than fifty people there. Most were home health care nurses, patients, and family members who will all be affected by these cuts. Some people gave impassioned speeches against the cuts. Two local news stations, KUSI and the Fox affiliate XETV showed up to cover the protest. At least it got some coverage. I just hope it's not too little, too late.

Home health care nurses who are paid by Medi-Cal will get a 10% pay cut (the agencies that hire the nurses are putting all the burden of the cuts on the nurses), and durable medical equipment and medical supply companies will get a 10% cut in reimbursements as well. It is hard to get nurses already; these cuts will make it even harder. Some people will lose their nurses to higher paying jobs. Also, some medical supply companies may no longer serve Medi-Cal recipients if these cuts take effect, and it may be harder to get some supplies and equipment.

I understand that California has serious budget problems and needs to make cuts, but these cuts to Medi-Cal are damaging. It is funny that everyone must sacrifice, except the Governor and the politicians. In fact, the state legislators were given pay raises. Why do they need raises in these tough economic times? I don't think they deserve it anyway. How about the state legislators take a 10% pay cut? or how about cutting their perks? They didn't exhaust all options in making the cuts. There must be pork barrel projects, or wasteful spending to be cut. Even going after Medi-Cal fraud would save money. I am furious at Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature. Medi-Cal always gets targeted for cuts which end up hurting people. I hope he and the legislature see the light and will reverse these cuts. My fingers are crossed.


Anonymous said...

It seems that no matter where you live there comes a time when the people who can least afford to have the budget balanced on their backs has exactly that happen! Do you have an ADAPT chapter in S.D.? This sounds like the kind of thing they would LOVE to take on. The national ADAPT is always looking for worthy happenings for their large group actions and I would LOVE a trip to S.D. for an action. (Would be fun to check out my childhood home too ;) ) T.

alex schaefer said...

wow man I'm glad you were there. That is an important issue and so full of the hypocrisy that is modern politicians. Cut pay to home care nurses... cut pay to teachers... eliminate benefits to the people who bring the most to our society, but they get paid more. I don't think politicians represent the people anymore, only themselves. From the local level to the presidency.