Senate bill passes to secure federal funds

In order to secure stimulus funds from Washington, D.C., the Senate Health Commitee, chaired by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D), voted on Wednesday to advance a bill to officially undo the state’s requirement for semi-annual reporting for Medi-Cal.

As a condition of receiving enhanced federal funds, states must refrain from efforts at reducing Medicaid enrollment, such as using semi-annual reporting, which has been shown to create a barrier for people trying to access the state-and-federally funded program.

“It makes sense to support this common-sense measure to keep 174,000 kids covered with health insurance, ” Elizabeth Landsberg of the Western Center on Law & Poverty told committee members.

Also speaking in favor of the bill was Beth Capell for Health Access California, the California Medical Association, Molina Health Care of California, and advocates for the disabled and children’s access to health care.

The bill must pass the full Senate by the end of the month to advance to the Assembly. Committee member Sen. Dave Cox (R ), was the only one to vote against it, while Vice Chair Tony Strickland (R ) joined Democrats in voting to pass the bill.

In other action, the Senate Health Committee also voted to send SB270 (Alquist) along to the Appropriations Committee. The measure would create a health information technology advisory panel to advise the Governor and the Legislature on health information technology in California.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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