Legislative Budget Hearings Address Increased Federal Funding for Medi-Cal, Other Social Services
Following a meeting with Bush administration officials last week in Washington, D.C., state officials are hopeful that the federal government will give the state an additional $500 million to cover rising hospital costs in Medi-Cal, Stan Rosenstein of the Department of Health Services said on Wednesday at an Assembly budget hearing, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Hospital officials told lawmakers at the hearing that $500 million might not be "enough new money to keep their hospitals afloat," the Bee reports. The hospitals have estimated that facilities will need an additional $700 million annually to cover increasing expenses.
In related news, Democrats at a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee's Health and Human Services Subcommittee on Wednesday said the state is "missing opportunities to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for social programs and is paying hundreds of millions more in federal penalties," the Bee reports.
According to the Bee, the hearing "highlighted differences in the Republican administration's vision for streamlining government and the approaches sought by advocates for the needy." Some advocates have said the state should check social service recipients' paperwork less often.
State officials at the hearing noted their efforts to sign up people online through private vendors.
Robert Sertich, deputy director of the Department of Social Services, said those efforts were "not well-received" by counties and advocates, adding, "It's intriguing, and I have staff looking at it, but we aren't in a decision mode that we are going to go that way" (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 2/24).