The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and others who provide services to California Medi-Cal recipients can have their payments cut by the state, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Brown has proposed closing a $25.4 billion state budget deficit with major program cuts, particularly to health and welfare and education programs.

But previous attempts by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other states to reduce the amount of money that doctors and others who treat Medi-Cal patients receive for their services have been rejected by federal courts.

Brown is proposing a 10 percent reduction in the payments. Opponents argue that doctors and others will stop accepting Medi-Cal patients altogether if the payments are cut.

Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said the federal courts had been a “roadblock” in allowing California to balance its budget. The issue before the high court, she said, was a matter of “state sovereignty.”

“It’s incredibly important,” she said of the high court’s decision to consider the case. “The fact that they are taking this up indicates that they understand how important this issue is to the state.”

Roughly 7 million Californians receive their healthcare through Medi-Cal, and about 57 percent of the state’s doctors participate in the program.


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