Stakeholders: California Slowing Down in Reform Implementation
Health care advocates and stakeholders in California are expressing concern that the state is slowing down in its efforts to implement provisions of the federal health reform law, Politico reports.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and his staff helped jumpstart California's reform law implementation efforts. Before Schwarzenegger left office, the state became the first in the nation to pass legislation to create a statewide health benefit exchange.
Only three other states -- Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia -- have passed bills to set up health insurance exchanges. California is the only state to have created a governing body for its exchange.
In January, Diana Dooley -- secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency -- said that California wants to be the "lead car" in implementing the overhaul.
However, observers say progress has slowed since Gov. Jerry Brown (D) took office and began focusing on the state's multibillion dollar deficit. Now, California is the only state in which health reform implementation has slowed under the leadership of a new, Democratic governor, Politico reports.
Some advocates have questioned whether Medi-Cal -- California's Medicaid program -- will be prepared to enroll two million new beneficiaries in 2014 under the reform law's Medicaid expansion.
Such an expansion could be threatened by budget legislation that includes broad cuts to Medi-Cal. In his budget plan for the next fiscal year, Brown called for reducing Medi-Cal payments to health care providers by 10% and increasing copayments for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Kim BelshÃ© -- CHHS secretary under Schwarzenegger and member of the California Health Benefit Exchange board -- said that implementing the reform law will "require leadership by Gov. Brown, who I hope, once our budget problems are more fully resolved, will become more fully engaged in our health reform implementation in the state" (Kliff, Politico, 5/10).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.