Senate Panel OKs Medi-Cal Cost Increases, Reimbursement Cuts
On Wednesday, California's Senate Budget Committee took its first steps to cut state spending, agreeing to increase Medi-Cal costs for beneficiaries and reduce the program's reimbursement rates, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has asked the state Legislature to approve $12 billion in budget cuts before seeking voter approval on a possible June ballot measure to extend taxes.
Details of Committee Action
In an effort to reduce state spending by $580 million, the budget committee approved Medi-Cal increases for the price of:
- Dental care;
- Hospital services;
- Medical care; and
- Prescription drugs.
Legislators also agreed to cut by 10% the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate to health care providers, which would reduce state spending by $700 million (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 2/17).
Democrats Reject Some Cuts
During the committee meeting, Democrats rejected about $200 million in additional cuts.
- Limiting the number of physician visits for Medi-Cal beneficiaries;
- Capping medical supply costs; and
- Eliminating vision coverage in Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program.
Republicans complained when Democrats rejected some of Brown's proposed health care cuts.
Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), vice chair of the budget committee, said it was not fair that Republicans had to vote on the cuts without knowing what alternatives Democrats planned to offer (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 2/16).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.