Changes to Medi-Cal Could Save $4 Billion Over Five Years, California Performance Review States
Changes to Medi-Cal proposed in the California Performance Review could reduce program costs by $4 billion over the next five years, including $1.5 billion in costs now paid from the state general fund, according to CPR, the Vacaville Reporter reports (Massad, Vacaville Reporter, 8/16).
The 2,500-page review, released earlier this month by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), proposes eliminating or consolidating more than 100 boards and commissions and modifying state business practices in an effort to save $32 billion over five years. The report aims to save almost $5 billion over five years by making changes to the Health and Human Services Agency.
One proposal would eliminate 17,000 county employees and hire private contractors to determine Medi-Cal beneficiaries' eligibility and administer many of the applications online. The recommendation calls for a single Internet-based application for Medi-Cal and the welfare and food stamp programs, similar to the current Healthy Families application (California Healthline, 8/10).
Schwarzenegger might attempt to adopt parts of the plan through legislation; package sections of the review as initiatives that would appear on the state ballot; and enact some parts by executive order (California Healthline, 8/4).
The review estimates the cost for enrolling and maintaining the eligibility of a Healthy Families beneficiary at $77 per person, compared with $337 per person for Medi-Cal, which currently has a paper-based enrollment process.
Patrick Duterte, director of the Solano Health and Social Services Department, said that Medi-Cal uses regulatory codes that make its administration less straightforward than that of Healthy Families, according to the Reporter.
He said, "We've been asking for streamlining for years, and it's kind of fallen on deaf ears. The issue of who should administer the programs is a different question" (Vacaville Reporter, 8/16).