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Gov. Jerry Brown says Supreme Court gave California leeway in Medi-Cal decision

Gov. Jerry Brown stands away from other Democratic governors at the White House.
Kitty Felde/KPCC
Gov. Jerry Brown stands away from other Democratic governors at the White House.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on a lawsuit that tried to stop California from cutting Medi-Cal payments to doctors. Gov. Jerry Brown, in D.C. for the National Governor’s Conference, has a few thoughts about the decision.

California was sued by low-income patients who say a 10 percent cut in doctors’ pay meant fewer providers would be willing to treat them. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, but along the way, the federal government agreed to the Medi-Cal cuts. The feds get a say since they provide about half the money.

Brown says the High Court sent the case back to the federal appeals court, but they gave them "clear instructions that are very favorable to the state’s position." Brown says, "The federal government says we can cut Medi-Cal, and we ought to be able to do it, and we don’t need third-party lawsuits which just bog down the whole system."

Medi-Cal is at the top of Gov. Brown’s agenda when he meets this weekend with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The governor wants even more flexibility as California administers the state’s health care program for the poor.