Hospitals Push State To Take Lead in Medi-Cal Payment Hike
Money from the state general fund, rather than fees from hospitals, should be used to draw matching federal funds for higher Medi-Cal reimbursement rates under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care overhaul, California Hospital Association president Duane Dauner said in an interview with Capitol Weekly (Garvin, Capitol Weekly, 4/12).
Schwarzenegger's plan would increase Medi-Cal reimbursements by $4 billion, financed in part through a fee that hospitals would be required to pay. The fee would amount to 4% of hospitals' operating revenue. The governor estimates that the hospital contributions, along with physician contributions of 2%, will amount to $3.5 billion in funding for the $12 billion proposal (California Healthline, 1/9).
Dauner says CHA analyzed potential outcomes of the proposal and found that a large number of hospitals "will still be net losers." He said, "We believe there are better ways of getting the money than taxing the providers who provide the care," adding that the governor's proposal "relies on everybody else except for the state to put up the money."
Dauner said that CHA supports the concept of "shared responsibility" touted by the governor in the health care reform plan but called on Schwarzenegger to increase the amount that employers who do not offer health benefits would have to pay to the state. In his proposal, the governor called for such employers to pay 4% of payroll to a state fund.
Dauner said that amount was "inadequate," noting that most employers' health care contributions amount to 7% to 9% of payroll (Capitol Weekly, 4/12).
Also on the subject of the governor's health reform plan, KPBS' "KPBS News" on Wednesday reported on the proposal.
The segment includes comments from Anthony Wright, director of Health Access, who opposes the plan (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 4/11).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.