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Waiver, Medical Home Bills Linger on Agenda

The Legislature, expected to reconvene soon to pass the budget, will also deal with some legislative leftovers.

Two bills relating to the Medicaid waiver are expected to be approved in both houses.

The fate of a another bill dealing with medical homes is harder to predict.

State and federal officials are currently negotiating the Medicaid waiver, and the final version of that negotiation has to be finished by Oct. 31. In the meantime, though, it’s important for California to pass a bill that changes state law to match the details of the waiver — so that there will less room for different interpretations or ambiguity in the law.

The wording of AB 342 (John Perez, D-Los Angeles) and SB 208 (Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento) gives the negotiators room to maneuver, in case the bills are passed before the final version of the waiver is complete. Given that the waiver means $10 billion of federal money to California, lawmakers are expected to pass it.

The bill to pass a definition of the medical home is a little more complex. AB 1542  (Dave Jones, D-Sacramento) passed both the Assembly and the Senate, but that’s when it got tricky. After passage of the bill in the Senate during the eleventh hour on the last night of session, the bill crashed in the twelfth hour.

It headed back to the Assembly for concurrence, which is usually a formality for a bill that hasn’t been altered much from one house to the other. In this case, even without any major change, it did not muster the necessary two-thirds vote for concurrence.

However, it was granted a rehearing. And in a normal end-of-session, that wouldn’t mean much. But when the Legislature reconvenes to pass a budget, the medical home bill may get one more shot at that concurrence vote.

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Capitol Desk Medi-Cal