Medi-Cal Has a Big Opportunity

Even with the awful budget crisis facing California, our healthcare system has the rare opportunity to bring in additional federal funds for expanding healthcare coverage. Two major developments in health policy have opened a transformational window of opportunity to dramatically expand coverage and improve health care in California communities. The first is the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; the second is the agreement of California’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid waiver, which will help California prepare for and implement new federal law. The Affordable Care Act would expand Medicaid in 2014 to 2 million Californians, largely those who are below the poverty level but don’t normally qualify. The ACA also allows states to start these expansions early, with federal funds matched 50/50. The Medicaid waiver allows California counties to use resources that already go to indigent care to draw down these federal funds.

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