State and Counties Strike Deal on Health Spending


 
California county and state negotiators have come to a budget deal on how local governments can use state dollars for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

After months of negotiations, the Brown administration and county representatives have struck a deal - the state can redirect some money away from county health programs, but the counties will have some choice in how that’s done.   

“The major framework of the deal is something that works,” says Farrah McDaid Ting with the California State Association of Counties.

She said some counties will have the option of forfeiting 60% of their health funds, or choosing a formula where those dollars are diverted based on actual spending.

“Treating the different counties differently, and letting them have an option on what works best for them I think is a good outcome for counties,” says McDaid Ting. 

Money taken from county health will be redirected to provide cash aid to low-income Californians in the CalWORKS program.

The state says the agreement will save general fund dollars in anticipation of new responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.   

But the deal means counties will have 300 million dollars less to pay for health services next year.   

“Would we have liked to keep all of our ‘91 realignment health funding, of course we would have," says McDaid Ting.  

"But in this world with a lot of the indigent folks that we currently serve going to Medi-Cal I think counties are going to have to reassess what they want to do and what the priorities at the local level are.”

McDaid Ting says the good news is that county money for programs like disease prevention testing are largely preserved. 




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