Medi-Cal Cuts Will Decrease Access to Reproductive Health Care Services

Medi-Cal Cuts Will Decrease Access to Reproductive Health Care Services

This is the final post of our 12-part “Protect Medi-Cal Funding” series. Medi-Cal provides a long-term investment that helps Californians succeed. This blog series highlights the importance of Medi-Cal for various populations in California and this last post focuses on the importance of reproductive health care services for Medi-Cal enrollees.

Women ages 15 and older make up over a third of all Medi-Cal enrollees, and of these, 63 percent are of reproductive age. Medi-Cal provides coverage for a wide array of reproductive health care services, including oral contraceptives; oral emergency contraceptives; contraceptives patches; vaginal rings, foam, gels, and creams; male and female condoms; contraceptive implants; contraceptive injections; and intrauterine devices (IUD). In contrast to several states, California has few restrictions to abortion access like waiting requirements, mandated parental permissions, or limits to public funding of abortions. In fact, California covers abortion services for all Medi-Cal enrollees, and pays for all these services using its state funds. Moreover, most Medi-Cal enrollees may receive abortion services without cost-sharing; and they do not need to provide a medical justification for abortions.

While recent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were defeated on July 28, 2017, advocates should remain on alert for continuing efforts to erode the ACA and scale back Medicaid funding through budget proposals and additional proposed legislation. The various ACA repeal proposals that had been under consideration by Congress would have seriously jeopardized the health and financial security of more than 13 million Californians—one third of the state’s residents—who rely on Medi-Cal each year. Such cuts would have destabilized California’s economy; the state’s own Department of Health Services issued a letter estimating that the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would have cost the state more than $30 billion over the next ten years.

Faced with such massive cuts in federal funding, the state may seek to:

  • Reduce the existing comprehensive coverage of reproductive health care services.
  • Weaken protections and standards of care for individuals seeking reproductive health care services.
  • Reduce reimbursement rates, consequently shrinking the pool of reproductive health care providers who are enrolled in Medi-Cal.

Medi-Cal is a fundamental public funding source for individuals seeking reproductive health care:

  • Medi-Cal finances 83 percent of all publicly funded family planning services, and 50 percent of abortions in California.
  • Medi-Cal patients can seek family planning and abortion services from any Medi-Cal provider, including those who are out of the managed care plan’s network.
  • California has some of the strongest protections for reproductive health care services in the country.

We urge you to read our Protect Medi-Cal Funding Series, Issue Brief #12, for a deeper dive on how Medi-Cal provides comprehensive reproductive health care coverage, and how Medicaid cuts would endanger the health access, services, and care that millions of Californians of reproductive age.

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