Calif. Lawmakers Seek More Health Care Funds From Federal Officials
Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) have announced plans to travel to Washington, D.C., next week in an effort to secure additional funding to implement the new health reform law and address the state's budget deficit, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
PÃ©rez and Steinberg plan to ask for commitments of up to $4 billion when they meet with White House officials and congressional leaders. The lawmakers are seeking support for health care programs that target low-income residents and federal matching funds linked to the state's new quality assurance fee on hospitals (Sanders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/28).
Steinberg and PÃ©rez also plan to meet with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during their trip.
Steinberg said, "This partnership with the federal government, where we can bring billions of dollars back for mostly health care in California, is essential" (KCBS News, 4/28).
Governor's Letter to Sebelius
On Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), PÃ©rez and Steinberg sent a letter asking Sebelius to help California secure additional federal funds for health care programs.
In the letter, the lawmakers write that California is seeking CMS approval for:
- A new Medicaid waiver that would provide California with an additional $2 billion per year;
- A hospital quality assurance fee that aims to draw down about $2 billion in new federal funds to provide supplemental Medicaid payments to hospitals;
- The state's plan to use some unexpended health care funds to reduce its budget deficit; and
- Adjustments to Medicare prescription drug benefit reimbursement formulas (Office of the Governor release, 4/28).