Efforts Under Way To Modify Medi-Cal To Get Stimulus Funds
Lawmakers and aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) are negotiating details of legislation that would make changes to Medi-Cal required for the state to receive an estimated $10 billion in federal funding through the federal stimulus package, the Ventura County Star reports.
The stimulus package bars states from receiving additional federal funds for their Medicaid programs if the programs' eligibility rules are more restrictive than they were on July 1, 2008.
As part of the fiscal year 2008-2009 state budget, California lawmakers increased eligibility verification requirements from once per year to twice annually for children covered by Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
That requirement would have to be changed for the state to receive the increased federal funds (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 3/8).
Options on the Table
Last week, Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose) introduced legislation (SB 26 3XÂ and SB 337) that would require children's Medi-Cal eligibility to be verified once per year instead of twice annually (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 3/6).
However, Jennifer Gibbons, spokesperson for Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Fresno), said Republican legislators want to consider suspending the requirement for more frequent eligibility checks rather than actually changing the law.
A spokesperson for the Schwarzenegger administration said suspending the law would fall short of the requirements to receive the federal stimulus money, the Star reports (Ventura County Star, 3/8).
Because SB 26 3X is a special session bill, it can be approved by a simple majority vote.Â SB 337 -- a regular session bill -- would need approval from a two-thirds majority to take effect immediately.The state has until July 1 to change and implement the new eligibility requirements to qualify for the increased federal money (Capitol Weekly, 3/6). 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.