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L.A. County Wrongly Booted Tens of Thousands of Residents Off Medi-Cal, Judge Says

Los Angeles County has wrongly canceled Medi-Cal coverage for thousands of residents, often leaving them without access to healthcare and needed medicines, a judge has ruled.

This undated photo shows Palmdale resident Carol Northern, who said she lost her Medi-Cal coverage in 2016 even though she filed her renewal packet to Los Angeles County on time, with her attorney, David Kane. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

This undated photo shows Palmdale resident Carol Northern, who said she lost her Medi-Cal coverage in 2016 even though she filed her renewal packet to Los Angeles County on time, with her attorney, David Kane. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

In a decision Thursday, L.A. County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant wrote that the county violated state law by terminating Medi-Cal coverage for beneficiaries even though they turned in their renewal paperwork on time. The ruling orders the county to fix the problem.

About 3.9 million people in Los Angeles County rely on Medi-Cal for health coverage, according to state data. Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, is funded by the state and federal government and provides coverage to low-income Americans and people who are disabled.

From December 2016 to December 2017, about 22,000 people in L.A. County wrongly lost Medi-Cal benefits, according to evidence cited in the judge’s decision. The problems appear to have resulted from a backlog of applications and a faulty computer system, according to court documents.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.