Stimulus Money for Medi-Cal Hinges on Undoing Eligibility Rules
California will have to eliminate eligibility restrictions it imposed in last year's budget to be eligible for at least $10 billion in additional federal money for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, Capitol Weekly reports.
The economic stimulus package that President Obama signed Tuesday increased federal funding for state Medicaid programs provided that the programs' eligibility requirements are not more restrictive than they were on July 1, 2008.
An analysis by California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office projects that the state could receive up to $11.23 billion in additional federal funding for Medi-Cal.Â To receive the funds, LAO said that the state would have to reverse a policy change that required parents to verify children's eligibility for the program twice annually.
LAO said the state would have to rescind the change by July 1, 2009.
Otherwise, the increased federal funds for Medi-Cal appear to have few restrictions.
Toby Douglas -- chief deputy director of the California Department of Health Care Services, which administers Medi-Cal -- said, "We couldn't reduce eligibility levels, but other than that, it is up to the governor and the Legislature to decide how this funding will be used" (Howard, Capitol Weekly , 2/19).
The economic stimulus package also includes funds to cover 60% of the cost of COBRA coverage for unemployed workers for up to nine months.Â
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, said it is unclear how much money Californians will see as a result of the provision (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 2/19 ).
On Wednesday, KQED's "The California Report" included a segment discussing how health care funds in the stimulus will affect California (Varney, "The California Report," KQED, 2/18).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.