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Medi-Cal agreement to bring $10 billion from feds to expand, improve care

November 2, 2010

The Obama Administration has approved an agreement with California that will bring $10 billion to the state over the next five years to improve care for low-income people and the disabled and broaden access to care for people who have not been eligible for the state’s Medi-Cal program. The initiative is designed to transition California toward the 2014 full implementation of the federal health reform law, when all adults with incomes of 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less will be eligible for Medi-Cal.

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LA cancer screening center closes doors

July 29, 2010

The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles — one of the oldest cancer screening clinics in California — plans to shut down today after treating its last patients. The center is a victim of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to freeze enrollment in a cancer screening program for low-income women on Jan. 1 and pay for routine mammograms only for women after the age of 50. Those moves caused an abrupt drop in the Elizabeth Center’s patient load and revenues, which had already been strained as its costs exceeded what it was earning from the state. HealthyCal correspondent Megan Baier has the story.

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Group homes sue state over rate freeze

May 5, 2010

An association of group homes that care for Californians with developmental disabilities has sued the state to in federal court, arguing that a freeze on reimbursement rates since August of last year violates federal law.

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Measure would restore breast cancer screenings for low-income women

March 24, 2010

Legislation to reinstate breast cancer screenings for low-income women as young as age 40 will be heard — and likely passed — by the Senate Health Committee today. But its prospects of becoming law remain uncertain.

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How the reform bills would affect seniors

March 23, 2010

A new policy brief from the University of California provides a great synopsis of how the health reform bills will affect seniors. I covered some of this in my analysis of the bill Sunday night, but this paper goes into more detail focused just on the elderly population and Medicare and Medi-Cal.

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The trouble with Medicaid

March 23, 2010

A patient has asthma and needs medication to prevent a possible trip to the ER. The doctor prescribes it. But the state bureaucracy that runs the Medi-Cal program puts up a roadblock. After hours of follow-up, the doctor manages to navigate the system for her patient. The story illustrates why so many doctors have stopped taking Medi-Cal patients. Dr. Ashby Wolfe’s latest blog post.

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Appeals court blocks Medi-Cal rate reduction

March 4, 2010

A federal appeals court has once again blocked California from reducing payments to doctors and hospitals that care for the poor under the state’s Medi-Cal program, finding that the Legislature did not sufficiently study the impact of the cuts before enacting them. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected the state’s attempt to cut reimbursements for the wages of in-home care workers by nearly 20 percent.

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Democrats push budget package

February 22, 2010

The Democrats in the Legislature have sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a package of budget bills that would trim about $2.3 billion from a projected $20 billion budget shortfall. The lawmakers held back on a complex tax swap involving the gas tax because Schwarzenegger had threatened to veto their version, and they wanted to continue the negotiations.

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Focus: Medi-Cal’s growth

February 22, 2010

About one in five Californians get their health care through the state’s Medi-Cal program, which has grown by twice the rate of the population during the past decade. We take a look at the roots of that growth as part of our series explaining how Medi-Cal fits into the state’s budget crisis.

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Babies, bathwater and billions

February 14, 2010

If someone handed Governor Schwarzenegger a check for a billion dollars, you probably wouldn’t expect him to tear it up or send it to Washington, D.C. to give to other states. But that’s exactly what he has proposed doing in his FY 2010/11 budget. And his budget would toss a million children’s reliable health care overboard at the same time.

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