The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is being sued by civil rights groups that say Medi-Cal enrollees have “substantially worse access to health care” than those in private health plans or Medicare. The lawsuit claims that Medi-Cal patients often experience delays in care, are denied care altogether, or have to travel longer distances to find medical providers. The plaintiffs, who hope to get their case certified as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Medi-Cal enrollees—nearly one in three Californians, or 13.4 million people—are requesting systemic changes, including “adequate” pay for physicians treating Medi-Cal patients. The state budget that became law on July 1 set aside only one-third of the expected revenues from Proposition 56 (tobacco tax) for increasing Medi-Cal payments to physicians. To read more, go to the California Healthline website at