Health leaders worried about less state funding, Medicaid cuts

Health leaders from around the Bay Area are fighting California Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to cut about $2.5 billion from county health programs over the next three years, reported Mercury News.

While Brown claims the counties won't need the funds for indigent care after Affordable Care Act provisions kick in, county health leaders want to wait until the true effects of federal health reforms play out in California.

"We're not greedy in San Mateo--if there are savings, we're happy to share them with the state," San Mateo County Health System CEO Jean Fraser told Mercury News. "But the governor is assuming everybody (who is eligible) will be enrolled and it will be a perfect world. Whether there are any savings is completely uncertain."

In fact, San Mateo County stands to lose $4 million in health funding next year and $9 million the year after, the article noted.

Although California will open up Medi-Cal to more than 1 million new people next year, health leaders still predict thousands of their residents will stay uninsured.

As the dispute continues, California hospitals were dealt a "devastating" blow by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently ruled to uphold retroactive Medi-Cal provider cuts, California Healthline reported.

"It is not unreasonable to suggest that these cuts are a form of patient dumping: the services patients need will disappear, leaving taxpayers to fund more expensive and less efficient alternatives," California Hospital Association President and CEO C. Duane Dauner said Friday in a statement.

The hospitals expressed disappointment in the court decision, as well as concerns that the state will be unable to implement the Affordable Care Act and expand Medi-Cal all while "gutting the foundation of the program."

To learn more:
- here's the Mercury News article
- read the California Healthline article
- check out the CHA statement (.pdf)

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