CHA Ballot Measure Would Block Diversion of Medi-Cal Funding
Last week, the California Hospital Association filed a proposed ballot initiative that would ensure hospital funding meant to pay for the care of Medi-Cal beneficiaries is not diverted for other purposes, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/26).
In 2009, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the state Legislature approved legislation (AB 1383; AB 188) to create a framework for a hospital fee that could draw down an estimated $2.6 billion in federal matching funds for Medi-Cal (California Healthline, 9/13/10).
The state planned to allocate most of the funding back to hospitals, with a portion going toward children's health care coverage (California Healthline, 9/2/10).
However, the state in recent years has diverted a portion of the fee to the state's general fund to help address budget problems.
Details of Ballot Initiative
The proposed ballot initiative would block the governor and state lawmakers from levying the fee on hospitals unless the funds and matching federal funding are used to pay for the care of Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
During a meeting this month, the CHA board of trustees unanimously approved the measure and budgeted money for a campaign to support it.
According to the plan, eligible hospitals each will contribute $48 million to the campaign.
Proponents must gather 800,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.
In a release, Duane Dauner -- CHA president and CEO -- said that the state has "significantly underpaid hospitals that provide life-saving care to Medi-Cal patients" (Sacramento Business Journal, 7/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.