The answer lies largely in the rapid expansion of the Medi-Cal program, which will soon provide health care to nearly 1 in 3 Californians. At the same time, the federal government has disallowed a creative financing scheme the state was using to maximize federal money for the program.
You’re not alone if you can’t afford your health insurance obligations, whether you’re struggling to pay your monthly premium or facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
Prompted by complaints like Hill’s, the California state auditor last year began evaluating how the state oversees much of its health program for low-income residents. The resulting audit released Tuesday found that provider directories were riddled with errors and that the state Department of Health Care Services hadn’t properly regulated plans to guarantee patients adequate access to doctors.
“That stunning number is stark evidence of California’s ever-widening economic divide.
California has nearly twice as many enrollees as the next largest state, New York, and 17.2 percent of all Medicaid enrollment in the nation.”
Doctors and patients are telling these kinds of stories more often as state Medi-Cal rolls have increased by 4 million under an expansion program created by the Affordable Care Act. Today, more than 12 million Californians, nearly one-third of the state’s total population, are enrolled in the government’s health insurance plan for low-income, disabled and disadvantaged residents.
Florida bragging rights are not the only issue, however. Tepid growth this year at Covered California raises budget questions because starting next year, the program must be self-sufficient. That means making it on revenue from a fee paid by health plans per member per month.
Allowing child care workers to unionize could be the largest expansion of collective bargaining within a state-funded service since 1999, but Wednesday’s floor discussions largely ignored the intent of the bill, focusing instead on the proposed expansion of child care slots. Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, only briefly hinted at Republican criticisms that union representation would drive up the cost of child care, already unaffordable for many, even higher.
Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law’s impact.
The Obamacare exchange had hoped to enroll 1.7 million Californians this spring, but the final tally was about 1.4 million, virtually the same as last year. Now its board is considering a plan to cut spending next fiscal year by 15 percent — or $58 million — compared to the current fiscal year. It also plans to slash its significant marketing and outreach budget by 33 percent, to $121.5 million.
Mr. Lee’s disquieting assessment actually jibed with a 2013 report by the state auditor, which stated that, until the state’s health insurance exchange actually started enrolling Californians in health plans, its “future solvency” was ”uncertain.” Thus, Covered California was listed as a “high-risk” issue for the state.
Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente will plant a $20 million information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta — a project that will create about 900 jobs.
Harris in February granted “conditional approval” of the ownership change from the Daughters to Prime — provided Prime agrees to a 78-page agreement filled with costly conditions. For the next 10 years, Prime would agree to keep all the hospitals open. It must spend $150 million on capital improvements in three years, assure the full pension benefits of retirees and current employees, and invest $350 million in seismic retrofitting. . . This convoluted deal is easier to understand in the context of union politics. The powerful Service Employees International Union/United Healthcare Workers West has been harshly critical of the sale to Prime, which it accuses of profiteering. By contrast, one of its rival unions, the California Nurses Association, has backed the sale as a way to save the hospital system.
California officials have no plans to make up for an expiring federal pay incentive designed to entice doctors to treat low-income patients..
One figure in a new report neatly summarizes the potential pitfalls for Obamacare: 30.1%. That’s how much premiums could rise next year, on average, for the roughly 1.3 million moderate- and upper-income Californians who buy individual health insurance policies.
Federal officials awarded California’s new health insurance exchange a $674-million grant, providing money for a crucial marketing campaign aimed at millions of uninsured consumers.