Finally, some good news!
Word has come that the federal government will permit, for a limited time, California to take advantage existing federal rules to implement AB1422 (Bass) which would help to fund the Healthy Families program.
This is a great relief. Until now, we heard very discouraging words from those in DC about the prospects for approval of federal matching funds through the extension of the gross premiums tax to Medi-Cal managed care plans.
As you may recall, the health coverage of almost a million children was put at risk as a result of the budget adopted by the Legislature and the further line item vetoes by the Governor back in July. AB1422 was a last ditch effort supported by both the insurers and the advocates to find a way to end the waiting lists and avoid disenrollment of hundreds of thousands of children in the midst of the great economic downturn.
When we learned of the difficulties at the federal level, in a matter of days, an impressive coalition of 20 California groups signed a letter of support for the implementation of AB1422 for Obama Administration.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pursue a formal rule making process that is likely completed in June 2011 or later.
Nobody wants a lump of coal in their stocking, least of all the children of California—and in the land of sunshine and oranges, every kid should have health care—and now a million of them will have that chance.