California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Lawmakers To Introduce Proposals for Medi-Cal Expansion

On Monday, California lawmakers plan to introduce proposals in a special legislative session that aim to help the state implement the Affordable Care Act, including an expansion of Medi-Cal, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for the special session during his State of the State address last week.

Details of the Proposals

One of the proposals aims to streamline the Medi-Cal enrollment process for the hundreds of thousands of Californians who currently are eligible for the program but are not enrolled.

Brown's fiscal year 2013-2014 budget proposal earmarked $350 million to cover the increased enrollment.

Lawmakers also are expected to propose an expansion of Medi-Cal to individuals who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level -- or $15,415 annually (Mishak, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 1/25).

The expansion is expected to add up to 1.5 million newly eligible adults to Medi-Cal (California Healthline, 1/25).

Implications for Counties

Brown's budget proposal offered two options for expanding Medi-Cal -- a state-based expansion in which the state would pick up more of the health care costs or a county-based expansion in which counties would build their Low-Income Health Programs. LIHP was developed by the state as a precursor to the Medi-Cal expansion under the ACA.

Many county officials still have questions about the Medi-Cal expansion, such as how many newly eligible residents will seek care under Medi-Cal and how much the expansion ultimately will cost (Horseman/Miller, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/25).

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