Schwarzenegger Meets With HHS Secretary To Discuss Medi-Cal Reform
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Sunday met privately with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to discuss Medi-Cal reforms that could reduce costs for the program, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Schwarzenegger met with Thompson as part of a trip to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the National Governors Association (Puzzanghera, San Jose Mercury News, 2/23). Department of Health Services last month announced the launch of a year-long effort to reform Medi-Cal, which provides health coverage for about 6.8 million California residents. The effort is part of the fiscal year 2004-2005 budget that Schwarzenegger proposed earlier this year, under which Medi-Cal would offer different coverage plans, charge higher premiums to beneficiaries with higher incomes and eliminate optional benefits not required by the federal government. Schwarzenegger also has proposed reducing Medi-Cal expenditures by $400 million in FY 2005-2006. State officials said that they hope to submit to the Legislature a request for Medi-Cal reforms that they would later forward to the federal government for approval. If approved, the state would begin to implement the reforms by 2005 (California Healthline, 1/27). After the meeting with Schwarzenegger, Thompson said, "The state of California is being very innovative, which I applaud them on. We're going to work with them" (San Jose Mercury News, 2/23). KQED's "California Report" on Monday reports on scheduled meetings tht Schwarzenegger will have with President Bush and Republican and Democratic senators while the governor is in Washington, D.C. (Myers, "California Report," KQED, 2/23). The complete segment will be available online in Windows Media after the broadcast.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.