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Stop Cutting Health Care 

Editor:

"RNs picketing for patient care," "safe staffing now," "some cuts don't heal" -- these words haunt me. I have been complaining about this for years ("Picketing for Help," March 21). The core of this issue goes back to March 16, 2011, when AB 97 passed the state Legislature. The bill created a 10 percent reduction on almost all Medi-Cal health services, then this cut was back-dated 2½ years! This bill also acknowledged two previous rate reductions the Legislature had just approved. One rate cut piled on top of another.

This bill also eliminated several Medi-Cal services, including Adult Day Health Care, over-the-counter nutrition products and over-the-counter cough and cold products. It also created a "soft cap" on the number of physician and clinic visits to just seven visits per patient per year. The purpose of this was to save $1.5 billion per year on the backs of the most vulnerable poor and disabled in California.

Hospitals and medical facilities have been closing, and physicians and medical personnel have been leaving rural communities and the state itself because of these continuous reductions. All these cuts come at a time when costs are skyrocketing. Every time the state needs to cut the budget, it cuts health care.

Michael Speers, McKinleyville

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