Legislature Set To Vote on Medi-Cal Reimbursement Cuts
On Friday, the Legislature is expected to approve a 10% cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements as part of a package of emergency spending cuts to help reduce California's escalating budget shortfall, the Sacramento Bee reports (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 2/15).
The $1 billion in spending cuts to health, education and other services are intended to help reduce a $14.5 billion state budget deficit over the next 18 months (California Healthline, 2/14).
The package won bipartisan approval from the Assembly Budget Committee on Thursday.
If approved by the full Legislature on Friday, lawmakers would beat the 45-day deadline to approve spending cuts after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) declared a fiscal emergency on Jan. 10.
The Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts would take effect July 1 and save the state $544 million in the next fiscal year. The state would save additional money by delaying reimbursements to counties and providers.
The package does not include proposals by Schwarzenegger to eliminate optional Medi-Cal benefits, including dental care for adult beneficiaries (Sacramento Bee, 2/15).
"With the exception" of the Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts, "the legislative package consists mostly of some one-time payment deferrals, redirection of unspent funds ... and other gimmicks that change numbers without changing reality," Dan Walters writes in his Bee column.
"What's happening this week, therefore, is heartening on one level -- some rare bipartisanship on the budget -- but discouraging about the Capitol's willingness to fully address a crisis that may grow even worse as the economy continues to soften," Walters writes (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 2/15).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Friday reported on the Legislature's vote. The segment includes comments from:
- Assembly member Roger Niello (R-Sacramento); and
- Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 2/15).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday also reported on the vote. The segment includes comments from Ned Wigglesworth of the Alliance for Patient Care (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 2/14).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online. 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.