House Stimulus Plan Would Send More Than $7 Billion to Medi-Cal
Medi-Cal would get $7.3 billion in the coming fiscal year under an economic stimulus package working its way through the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Combined with about $4 billion in federal funds for education, money from the stimulus package could eliminate about one-quarter of California's budget deficit, projected to reach $42 billion by mid-2010, the Times reports.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) agreed that the increase in federal funds would help the state address the budget deficit, but he and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) warned that problems would remain.
Bass said, "We have to make really horrible cuts, and we have to raise revenue, but we are just hoping whatever we get will help us avoid deeper cuts" (Halper/Simon, Los Angeles Times, 1/23).
Status of Stimulus
On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the two-year, $825 billion package that includes additional funds for Medicaid, $20 billion for health care information technology and federal subsidies for health insurance premiums under COBRA, among other provisions, CQ Today reports.
Before approving the stimulus package, the Ways and Means Committee approved an amendment by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) that would prevent reductions in Medicaid reimbursements to hospices, long-term care facilities and medical students.
The committee also approved an amendment proposed by Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) that would make technical changes to health care provisions in the stimulus package.
The Energy and Commerce Committee approved an amendment proposed by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) under which individuals with annual incomes of more than $1 million could not qualify for COBRA subsidies.
Â In addition, the committee approved an amendment proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) under which recipients of funds for health care IT would have to purchase technology manufactured in the U.S. (Wayne/Armstrong, CQ Today, 1/22).
The full House is expected to vote on the plan next week (Los Angeles Times, 1/23).The Senate has not released its own economic stimulus plan (Blumenthal, McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 1/23). 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.