Schwarzenegger Finalizes Medi-Cal Reform Plan, Expected To Release Proposal in January
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said that he has finalized his plan to reform Medi-Cal and will release the proposal on Jan. 10 as part of his fiscal year 2005-2006 budget plan, the Contra Costa Times reports. Schwarzenegger has twice withdrawn Medi-Cal reform plans from HHS consideration. His past plans have included measures to limit eligibility, increase copayments and reduce services in the program.
According to Finance Director Tom Campbell, because the Medi-Cal reform plan will require approval from HHS, Schwarzenegger should not expect significant savings from the proposal for FY 2005-2006. Campbell has recommended that Schwarzenegger reduce funds for other health care programs as part of his budget plan.
Anthony Wright, director of Health Access, said, "We've been told to expect an ugly budget. We've heard that the cuts are deep and will cause people discomfort."
Rachael Kagan, a spokesperson for the California Association of Public Hospitals, said, "At issue is $2 billion in federal money that keeps the doors open of public hospitals that serve the state's uninsured patients. That's what's being tinkered with."
Darryl Nixon, spokesperson for the California Association of Health Facilities, said, "Like everyone else, we expected to see the new program with the new budget in January. That's what they said they were going to do when they pulled the plan in August. If it's not coming forward, that's news to us" (Chorneau, Contra Costa Times, 12/22).