Budget Debate Stretches On; Health Care Facilities Say Closures Possible
Health care providers in California are voicing concerns about their ability to continue operating without Medi-Cal reimbursements as the state budget impasse stretches beyond the 60-day mark, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
An emergency fund used to pay Medi-Cal providers when the state is operating without a budget ran out of money on July 24.
Since then, many health care clinics have used loans from a consortium of hospitals and foundations to cover operating costs, but other health care institutions warn that they might go out of business if Medi-Cal payments do not resume soon (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 9/2).
On Friday, California Controller John Chiang (D) said that the state would not be able to issue billions of dollars in checks by the end of September (Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, 8/31).
Schwarzenegger's office convened a meeting last week with two former state finance directors and former Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte to discuss strategies for continuing state operations until November or later without a budget in place.
According to some meeting participants, the group discussed options for the state to secure cash when its reserves run out and whether the governor is authorized to release emergency funds to health clinics and other initiatives (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 9/1).
After lawmakers rejected a budget proposal by Democrats last week, the Senate is expected to vote on a proposal by Republican legislators later this week. The plan would call for cutting health care benefits for undocumented immigrants and documented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than five years.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the proposal likely will be rejected (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 8/30).