HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Friday, May 13th, 2005

HEALTH CUTS CONTINUED IN FRIDAY THE 13TH BUDGET

  • Despite Questions, “Medi-Cal Redesign” Proposals Intact
  • More Cuts to Come If Governor Wins Unilateral Powers on Ballot

The Governor’s “May Revise” budget, announced earlier today, was more of the same. The Governor refused to retract any components of his “Medi-Cal Redesign” proposal, nor did he consider increased revenues to sustainably deal with the ongoing budget crisis.

This sets the stage for the bigger budget fight this fall, where the Governor is seeking to win, through a special elecction, unilateral power to make cuts in health and other vital services. With that power, he would be able to come bacck with many of his previous proposals for health care cuts that have been rejected by legislators.

For a copy of the proposal for the California Health and Human Services Agency, go to the Department of Finance website, at:
http://www.dof.ca.gov//HTML/Budget_05-06/MayRevision2005-06/HHS.pdf

The Governor’s budget didn’t contain major changes, although it did include funding for expected caseload growth in the Healthy Families program for children, and about $13 million in funding for outreach and other related efforts around next budget year’s implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

The Governor’s did not change any of his original “Medi-Cal Redesign” Proposal. For a chart about the proposals, their financial and health impacts, and the legislative response to date, download the Health Access Medi-Cal Redesign Scorecard at:
http://www.health-access.org/preserving/docs/MediCalRedesignScorecardMay10.doc

The cuts that the Governor has re-affirmed include:

  • PREMIUMS: Impose premiums on 550,000 children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities on Medi-Cal just over the federal poverty level, including 460,000 children and parents. The premiums would be $4/month for each child under 21, and $10/month for adults, up to $27/month per family. Beneficiaries will be disenrolled if they do not pay premiums for two consecutive months.
  • DENTAL CAP: Limit dental benefits to three million adults with Medi-Cal coverage. Dental coverage would be limited to $1,000 in a twelve-month period; Some exemptions would apply.
  • OUTSOURCING SINGLE POINT OF ENTRY: Transfer a portion of Medi-Cal eligibility processing of “single point of entry” forms to Healthy Families vendor (Maximus), from counties.
  • MANDATORY MANAGED CARE: Force hundreds of thousands of seniors, people with disabilities and families into managed care plans. The proposal would geographically expand Medi-Cal managed care plans into 13 counties now without such plans, and force this shift for 262,000 children and parents; would also shift into managed care 554,000 seniors and people with disabilities in 27 counties who are now in fee-for-service plans.
  • HOSPITAL FINANCING: Restructure the funding for public and safety-net hospitals through a federal waiver, by shifting the risk and responsibility of reimbursements from the state to the counties. Would cap federal reimbursements. No specific details on the proposal have been released. Negotiations with the federal government continue.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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