Lawmakers Expected To Address Medi-Cal, Children’s Health Measure in Coming Weeks
A number of health care measures remain on the legislative agenda in the last three weeks of this year's session, including a "raft of measures that would expand health care benefits to the poor," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Lawmakers must approve legislation to implement an agreement with the federal government to restructure distribution of Medi-Cal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced in June.
Among the changes stipulated in the agreement, the Legislature has to designate a plan for distributing Medi-Cal funds among public and private hospitals. The agreement also limits the state's use of Medi-Cal funds to treat low-income, uninsured patients who are not covered by Medi-Cal.
Critics of the plan, including some Democratic legislators, oppose a component of the agreement that requires moving 554,000 blind, elderly and disabled Medi-Cal beneficiaries to managed care plans. Critics also say changes in funding to public and private hospitals could affect private hospitals' business.
In addition to the Medi-Cal measure, legislators will consider a number of bills addressing health care for children, according to the Times (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 8/16). For example, a bill (AB 772) by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) would expand health insurance coverage for children, the Oakland Tribune reports (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 8/15).
Despite a total of 830 bills still pending in the Assembly and Senate, legislative issues "have received far less attention than those on the November ballot," according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 8/16).
Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders on Tuesday missed an unofficial deadline to devise a compromise that would cancel the special election, and it appears lawmakers will instead turn their attention to bills remaining on the legislative agenda, the Tribune reports (Oakland Tribune, 8/15).