Reducing medical reimbursement rates for doctors and pharmacies will hurt consumers and businesses. Finding a doctor or a pharmacy that will accept Medi-Cal patients will become more difficult, and Medi-Cal patients will then deluge those that continue to accept them. Such pharmacies could be forced out of business, leaving people with no place to turn – except the emergency room.
Furthermore, as more and more doctors and pharmacies do not accept Medi-Cal patients, many people will be unable to obtain preventative care and unable to fill prescriptions. Predictably, patients will suffer physically and taxpayers will suffer financially.
Cutting the reimbursement rate only provides savings in a very rudimentary way – in the same way that I save money when I buy the cheap garbage bags that don’t have handles or the cell phone headset that no one can hear me on. I am really proud of myself for my thrift until liquid is leaking from my trash bag and making a gross trail from the kitchen to the front door and I am screaming into my cell phone so my mother can hear me.
Since this cut obviously doesn’t prevent anyone from getting sick – it just prevents them from seeking care until they are sicker – those who are insured will end up subsidizing the inevitable visits to the hospital emergency room.
One of the many consequences of this cut will be individual Californians paying more for healthcare. I’d like to say that this is one of those unintended consequences of poorly thought out proposals, but I doubt it – policymakers know better. So let’s not pretend or close our eyes and hope for the best.
More emergency room visits, lost productivity, and needless suffering – that’s what we’ll get. All for fake savings.