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The Latest: State officials defend low-income health program


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a lawsuit alleging a California health care program discriminates against Latino residents (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

California officials say there is no evidence that 13 million lower-income residents lack proper medical care under a state-run program.

The Department of Health Care Services's is responding to a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleging the state violates Latinos' civil rights because poorly paid health care providers balk at providing treatment.

The lawsuit says low reimbursements often mean that those who rely on Medi-Cal, the state's health care program for the poor, are denied timely and quality medical care.

State officials say in a response letter that there is no evidence of discrimination against Latinos, who make up a majority of Medi-Cal recipients.

The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs including the state's largest labor union representing health care workers.

California is spending $107 billion for Medi-Cal this year.

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10:10 a.m.

A court challenge says California is harming medical care for more than 13 million lower-income residents — the majority of them Latinos — by failing to pay doctors enough to provide proper care.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday says California has created a separate and unequal system for recipients of Medi-Cal, the state's health care program for the poor. The lawsuit was filed by five individuals and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.

The lawsuit alleges California is violating the civil rights of more than 7 million Latinos by providing low reimbursements to health care providers. The suit says the low payments often mean Medi-Cal recipients are denied adequate medical care.

A spokesman from the California Department of Health Care Services says it hasn't yet received the lawsuit.

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