More than 80 percent of all Medi-Cal—California’s version of the pre-Obamacare Medicaid social healthcare program designed for people who cannot afford healthcare—is paid out for nonwhites, it has emerged.
News of the racial discrepancy in Medi-Cal usage was hidden in the reporting over a new court case which claims that the reimbursement rates to doctors are so law that that in effect lead to poorer healthcare for nonwhites.
According to a report on the PEW Charitable Trusts titled “Are Medicaid’s Payment Rates So Low They’re Discriminatory?” the government of California is now being sued by the “Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund” (in other words, a racially-based Hispanic pressure group*) which says “the state’s low payment rates to doctors lead to poor care for the largely Hispanic beneficiaries that use Medicaid.”
The court case is “novel,” the article adds, because of the tactic of accusing the state of “racial discrimination in order to increase funding.”
The suit started in July when a group of five “individual Medicaid beneficiaries” sued the state of California, arguing that the program’s health services for the poor are so bad that they amount to discrimination against the largely Hispanic population that relies on the program.
The state has among the lowest doctor reimbursement rates in the country, and the result, is that “many California doctors don’t accept Medicaid patients.”
The result, the plaintiffs say, “is long waits or far travels to receive health care.”
In California, 48 percent of beneficiaries of Medi-Cal are Hispanic, compared with 20 percent who are white, and the rest either black or Asian, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) argue that “as California’s Medicaid recipients have become increasingly Hispanic, the state’s reimbursements for Medi-Cal have fallen over time compared with reimbursements for Medicare, the federal program providing health care for those over 65”—in other words, the whites.
Beneficiaries of Medi-Cal fail to receive timely access to quality care compared with the largely white populations that use Medicare or private insurance, MALDEF argues.
Nationally, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program grew by 27 percent under the expansion provided by the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Oabamcare”), increasing the numbers of nonwhites getting health insurance—at the expense, of course, of the whites who carry the majority of the tax and insurance payment burden.
This is also the reason why Obamacare has, in many states, ground to a halt as providers—unable to charge anything near affordable rates to cover the mass of uninsured—have left the market.
The MALDEF case is based largely on California’s anti-discrimination statute, which, similar to the federal Civil Rights Act’s Title VI, prohibits discrimination in a government program based on someone’s race or national origin.
The suit also relies on the equal protection and due process provisions within the California Constitution. MALDEF hopes to get the case certified as a class action, which would allow the organization to sue on behalf of every beneficiary in the state.
MALDEF has used similar legal theory in other cases in California, including one challenging the number of nonwhite students who were suspended or sent to alternative high schools for disciplinary issues.
A similar suit against Los Angeles County’s transportation authority in 1996 resulted in a renewed commitment to bus service in “poorer neighborhoods”—in other words, the tactic has been used a number of times to continually force whites to pay out for non-taxpaying nonwhites.
* Imagine a “European-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund” even existing: it would be dismissed as “white supremacist” or “neo-Nazi.”