| One of the more astonishing proposals of the Governor's budget cuts was a "10 appointment maximum" for Medi-Cal patients.
In an effort to close the state budget gap, California health officials are proposing a "hard cap" of 10 medical visits per year for needy patients who rely on the Medi-Cal program for health care.
Some patients and health advocates are calling the strategy a "death sentence" for patients who need dialysis treatments to clean their blood or chemotherapy to rid them of cancer. The bipartisan(sic) Legislative Analyst's Office recommended a cap that also grants exemptions for certain services or conditions.
The 10-visit cap (PDF), estimated to save the state $200 million a year, would affect the 10 percent of California patients who rely most heavily on the Medi-Cal program to meet their medical needs. (California Watch)
In many ways, this cap is just as scary as the non-existant "death panels" from the health care debate. This ten-visit cap would mean death for those that are easily treated through consistent, but expensive, care.
This cut is simplistic, and not really reflective of a more thoughtful approach of tightly managing care for the most expensive patients. As of yet, nobody has acted on the Leg Analyst's suggestion, but one hopes that is something of a given. A harsh 10-appointment cap is simply unacceptable.
We are still waiting to see how the legislature acts on Brown's proposal, but I would be pretty shocked if this particular one got too far.
At any rate, why aren't we seeing Tea Party fury on this? Oh, right, this is poor people, so it's not that big of a deal.