A federal judge has refused to lift a preliminary injunction barring California from cutting Medicaid provider payments by 5%.
Chief U.S. District Judge David Levi in Sacramento said the California Department of Health Services failed to produce new information that would make him reverse a December 2003 ruling that found the rate reductions in the state's Medi-Cal program to be illegal.
A coalition of providers and patient advocates sued the state last fall, arguing that the cuts, which were to take effect Jan. 1, violated the federal Social Security Act because they would force doctors to drop out of Medi-Cal, jeopardizing patients' access to care.
Despite the preliminary injunction, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting Medi-Cal rates an additional 10% this fiscal year.