Hospitals win ban on state Medicaid cuts

A federal judge has stayed California's attempt to cut certain Medicaid payments to hospitals, reports The Sacramento Bee.

The cuts, which would have saved the state about $623 million over the next fiscal year, targeted payments to hospitals operating nursing homes, pharmacists and physicians. The cuts would have averaged about 10 percent, but in some instances would have been much higher. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the reductions last fall, notes Bloomberg.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder ruled on Dec. 28 that the cuts would lead to irreparable harm because some enrollees in Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, would lose benefits.

The California Hospital Association (CHA) sued in November to block the payment reductions. It argued that the state's already low reimbursement rates, along with the new cuts, would cause enrollees to lose services. "Judge Snyder's decision clearly affirms that the interests of patients must be placed ahead of the state's budget decisions," the association said in a statement.

Along with the CHA, lobbies representing California's physicians and pharmacists also sued to block the cuts.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg News article
- read the Sacramento Bee article
- here's the CHA statement