Obama Administration Approves California’s $10B Medi-Cal Waiver
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced that the Obama administration has approved a waiver that will provide California with $10 billion to improve and expand Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The funds come from a federal program that aims to encourage states to pursue innovative and cost-effective strategies for delivering care to Medicaid beneficiaries. Some of the savings are returned to states as incentive payments (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 11/3).
State and federal officials have been negotiating California's Medi-Cal waiver for more than a year.
Details of California's Waiver
California will receive $2 billion annually through its Medi-Cal waiver over the next five years (Office of the Governor release, 11/2).
Medi-Cal currently covers about 7.5 million state residents. The waiver willÂ helpÂ Medi-Cal cover about 500,000 additionalÂ Californians by expanding program eligibility to residents with annual incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (Sacramento Bee, 11/3). The federal health reform law requires all state Medicaid programs to follow such eligibility requirements by 2014.
In some California counties, the waiver will allow the state to expand Medi-Cal coverage to residents with annual incomes up to twice the federal poverty level.
In addition to expanding coverage, the waiver aims to:
- Shift more Medi-Cal beneficiaries into managed care programs; and
- Make additional funding available for safety-net hospitals that meet certain standards for care coordination and quality (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 11/2).
For additional coverage of California's Medi-Cal waiver, see today's Capitol Desk post.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.