MEDI-CAL: Legislature Passes Emergency Measure
Under emergency legislation passed yesterday, the state will continue to pay its bills through Aug. 5 -- including payments to health care providers in the Medi-Cal program. The payments were jeopardized by the state Legislature's failure to pass a budget, but the new measure will allow the state to spend $19 billion "to keep the state operating for the next two weeks," the Los Angeles Times reports. A Los Angeles judge ruled Tuesday that the state had no legal authority to spend money without a budget. Gov. Pete Wilson would not say whether he would extend the emergency spending measure beyond Aug. 5 if he and state legislators fail to agree on a budget by that date. "If we want to see prison guards unpaid, if we want to see children, the disabled, the elderly unable to receive a grant upon which they depend, then the thing to do is to fail in ... this basic duty," Wilson said (Morain et al, 7/23). The emergency spending bill passed the state Assembly and Senate 61-0 and 32-0, respectively. Some Medi-Cal providers have not been paid by the state since July 1, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "Hallelujah!" said Gary Byrnes, who owns a 75-bed nursing home in National City. "I personally, and my residents, are very pleased. I certainly would have liked to have seen a more permanent solution to this despicable annual ritual" (Mendel, 7/23).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.