California dentists sue state government

The California Dental Association (CDA) has joined a lawsuit against the State of California that seeks to prevent a $1.3 billion cut in Medicaid payments.

This cut was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February to stem the state's budget crisis. It is scheduled to take effect July 1.

"The class action lawsuit seeks an immediate injunction to block the reduction," states a CDA press release. It is "an effort to ensure that all Californians have continued access to vital health care services."

Citing the Kaiser Family Foundation, the release says California has the lowest Medicaid spending rate in the county: $2,701 per Medicaid beneficiary, compared to the national average of $4,662.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims that these new reductions violate federal regulations requiring that Medicaid payments "must be sufficient to enlist enough providers so that services under the (state's Medicaid) plan are available to recipients at least to the extent that those services are available to the general public."

The suit was filed jointly by the California Medical Association (CMA); the California Hospital Association (CHA); the California Dental Association (CDA); the California Association for Adult Day Services (CAADS); the American College of Emergency Physicians, State Chapter of California (Cal/ACEP); the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA); and the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH).

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