Supervisor Lawson-Remer Calls for Local Action to Expand Access to Quality & Affordable Healthcare, Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

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In a significant move to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable for San Diego County residents, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer today announced a new initiative to confront the critical issue of low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, as well as to reduce prescription drug expenses for San Diegans.

Almost one million individuals in San Diego County, including approximately 325,000 children, rely on Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, as a vital support system to safeguard their health and well-being. 


Supervisor Lawson’s-Remer plan focuses on enhancing access to, and quality of, healthcare by increasing reimbursement for Medi-Cal.

“The longstanding issue of low reimbursement rates makes it harder for people to find care, contributes to a shortage of healthcare workers, and results in more San Diegans winding up the E.R. — which puts a huge strain on the region’s entire healthcare system and affects all of us,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We must deliver on the pledge of Medi-Cal and ensure that access to healthcare is not a privilege limited by circumstances, but a fundamental right upheld for all.”

Lawson-Remer will also call for County action to address the root causes of high prescription drug prices and implement solutions to reduce costs for Medi-Cal and Medicare recipients. The proposal will go before the Board of Supervisors at the March 12, 2024 board meeting at 9:00 a.m.

According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals received payments equivalent to only 88 cents for every dollar spent on Medicaid patients in 2020, resulting in underpayment totaling nearly $25 billion. Historically, California has ranked near the bottom in the United States when it comes to Medicaid reimbursement rates. Extensive research underscores the adverse consequences of these low rates, which can lead to restricted access to quality healthcare and poorer outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries. Civil rights advocates and attorneys contend that these excessively low reimbursement rates are not just problematic but discriminatory, which also makes this a racial justice issue.