Governor Restores Medi-Cal Provider Payments
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Friday signed emergency legislation (SB 912) to immediately eliminate a 5% cut in payments to Medi-Cal fee-for-service providers, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rabin, Los Angeles Times, 2/18).
Lawmakers approved the payment cut in 2003 to help address an estimated $38 billion budget deficit. The law was set to expire in 2007 (Miller, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/18).
The bill, by Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-Chula Vista), unanimously passed the Assembly and Senate last week. The legislation allocates $22.5 million from the general fund to cover the cost of repealing the cut for the remainder of this fiscal year (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 2/18).
Eliminating the cut is expected to cost the state a total of about $50.8 million, but federal contributions will help cover the expense, the Press-Enterprise reports (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/18).
Schwarzenegger said in his signing message that "unanticipated savings" from a recalculation of the Medicare drug benefit payment formula have allowed the state to end the payment reduction (Office of the Governor release, 2/17).
The governor's signing message is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the message.