Uninsured Pose Challenge to Public Hospitals
The most effective way to reduce the financial burden on California's public safety-net hospitals is to "substantially reduce the number of uninsured residents in the state," a San Jose Mercury News editorial states.
Public safety-net hospitals treat more than half of the state's 6.7 million uninsured residents, operate most of the state's trauma centers and train about half of the state's doctors, according to the editorial. However, the editorial states that funding for the hospitals "is anything but secure" because of provisions of an agreement on federal funding for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
If hospital costs continue to increase because of uninsured patients, expenses will exceed a cap on federal funding, possibly leading to the termination of some hospital services, the editorial states. Alternatively, counties would have to contribute additional funds to public hospitals, according to the editorial.
"Schwarzenegger told a national television audience last month that he intends to" reduce the number of uninsured residents in the state, the editorial states, concluding that "Californians should make sure he does" (San Jose Mercury News, 12/5).