As Economy Stumbles, Medi-Cal Costs Climb

In California’s state Capitol, they call it counter-cyclical, a mundane term used to describe the volatile rollercoaster effect of a bad economy on government-run social programs. As the economy and tax revenues decline, demand for many state-run programs increases, putting more stress on the budget just when it can handle it least. The grand daddy of all counter-cyclical programs: Medi-Cal, the state and federal program that provides health care for the poor. “In California, the primary catalyst of growth in the Medi-Cal program in recent years has been the economic downturn,” said Anthony Cava of the Department of Health Care Services, which manages the Medi-Cal program.

 

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