A lawsuit filed in state courts in California argues that the state’s low Medicaid payments amount to discrimination against the state’s large Hispanic Medicaid population.
California pays among the lowest rates in the country to physicians, making health care inaccessible for some, and the suit maintains that this is a civil rights issue in which low rates amount to discrimination.
The suit is based on state anti-discrimination and equal protection laws, and many other states have similar laws on the books. Observers question whether the low rates constitute discrimination against the suit’s Hispanic plaintiffs because the low rates affect the state’s entire Medicaid population, but health advocates around the country will be watching the suit’s progress closely as they consider whether it offers a model for how they, too, might seek redress over the low Medicaid payments that are common in so many states – payments typically much lower than those paid by Medicare.
Many private safety-net hospitals are located in states with low Medicaid payments and will be following this lawsuit closely.
For a closer look at the lawsuit, the situation in California, the suit’s legal implications, and how others view it, see this Stateline article.