A coalition of hospital, insurance, physician, nursing and other healthcare groups unveiled a $10 million campaign Monday urging the state of California to fully fund Medi-Cal and bring provider payments in line with rates paid by Medicare.
“We Care for California” has launched an eight-week paid media campaign to alert the public and state leaders how the underfunding of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, has caused problems in healthcare access for millions of children, seniors in nursing homes, pregnant women and people with disabilities. The campaign includes English- and Spanish-language TV, radio, direct mail, billboards and online calls to action.
Coalition members include the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association, Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, Dignity Health, Health Net, the Service Employees International Union and others.
“As Californians, we have a moral responsibility to ensure the most vulnerable among us have the access to basic medical services,” Dr. Noha Abeolata, a family practitioner and CEO of Roots Community Clinic in Oakland, said in a news release.
The coalition is calling for the passage of SB 243 and AB 366, two state bills that would fully fund Medi-Cal. The coalition also wants Gov. Jerry Brown to make significant movement toward fully funding Medi-Cal in his revised budget.
The coalition noted that California currently ranks 48th in the U.S. in the level of its Medicaid payments to providers, and that 56% of Medi-Cal patients report difficulty finding a doctor. The state's hospitals say the level of underfunding costs them more than $6 billion per year. More than half of California children and two-thirds of nursing home patients rely on Medi-Cal for basic healthcare.
The coalition said fully funding Medi-Cal would mean providing children with access to basic healthcare, timely treatment for patients in doctors' offices, and investment in preventive medicine.