New Proposal Would Increase Medi-Cal Eligibility Checks
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed a plan to force more than half of Medi-Cal beneficiaries to verify their eligibility for the program four times per year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Under current laws, children, pregnant women and some people with disabilities must reapply for Medi-Cal once per year, and parents have to reapply twice per year.
Officials for the Schwarzenegger administration say the proposed change would result in about 122,000 people being dropped from the Medi-Cal rolls next year, saving the state nearly $92 million. The proposed new rules would apply to about 4.5 million of the 6.5 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Advocates for low-income residents criticized the proposal, with Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, arguing that the proposal "intentionally mak[es] it more difficult for people to stay in the program with the express purpose of hoping they will drop out."
However, Toby Douglas, deputy director of the Department of Health Care Services, said the proposed rule simply aims to remove ineligible people from Medi-Cal more quickly.
Former Gov. Gray Davis (D) offered a similar proposal in 2003, but the Legislature rejected it (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/25).