State wins billions in needed federal health aid
November 3, 2010
After more than a year of tortuous negotiations between state and federal health officials, it was announced this week that California will receive $10 billion in health aid during the next five years through the renewal of its ongoing Medicaid waiver.
The infusion of new federal funding will expand health coverage for uninsured low-income residents, improve access and quality of care for seniors and the disabled, and help implement federal health care reform when its new rules take effect in 2014.
The negotiations took place between the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and California’s Department of Health and Human Services.
The County of Los Angeles—constituting roughly 30% of the state’s population but 34% of the state’s medically indigent and 36% of those living below the federal poverty level—will be a major beneficiary of the aid. Those funds have helped to underwrite the County’s continuing reform and restructuring efforts since 1995, when the Clinton Administration granted the initial five-year federal waiver under Section 1115(a) of the Social Security Act.
That waiver allowed Los Angeles County to reconfigure its health-care services, creating public-private partnerships with non-profit community-based clinics and expanding ambulatory and outpatient services with federal money. This was accomplished by “waiving” federal requirements that had restricted the funding to reimbursement for in-patient hospital services, the costliest type of medical care.
To learn more about the recently approved agreement, formally known as California’s “Bridge to Reform: A Section 1115 Waiver Proposal,” visit the California Department of Health Care Services site here.