Legislation To Implement Medi-Cal Agreement Could Prompt Bipartisan Action
Legislation that would implement an agreement that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) made with the federal government to restructure distribution of Medi-Cal funds could "force bipartisan action" in the last weeks of the current legislative session, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/22).
The agreement, which Schwarzenegger announced on June 22, would increase federal matching funds for Medi-Cal by as much as $3.3 billion over five years and enroll more than 500,000 beneficiaries in managed care plans.
Under the agreement, California would receive a five-year waiver from federal rules related to Medi-Cal hospital reimbursements. The waiver would allow the state to continue to contract with 230 hospitals for Medi-Cal services, rather than pay the 600 hospitals statewide.
The federal government would provide the state with an additional $671 million annually for Medi-Cal over five years, with $360 million of those funds allocated for the shift of low-income beneficiaries to managed care plans. According to state officials, Medi-Cal would shift 554,000 elderly, blind and disabled beneficiaries to managed care plans between January 2007 and mid-2008 under the agreement (California Healthline, 8/15).
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) said that some hospital officials have raised concerns that their facilities might have to close based on the details of the agreement.
He said, "It's very complicated," adding, "We have our best staff working on it, and I hope we can get it done in time." According to Perata, the state should implement the agreement by October (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/22).