California Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget estimates that almost a third of the population of California will be enrolled in Medi-Cal during next fiscal year.
About 11.5 million Californians will get health care through Medi-Cal.
That’s higher than what the Governor or state health planners anticipated.
So the revised budget adds more than a billion dollars to account for the surge.
“When you go beat the bushes and say, get health coverage, you attract a lot of people. And we attracted a lot of individuals who were previously eligible, but never signed up,” Governor Jerry Brown said when he released the new budget proposal.
Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway says there’s reason to worry about the enrollment increase.
“All of this…points to single-payer, that a lot of people would really like to see California have, and it’s something that I think would be disastrous for California,” she says.
Consumer advocate Anthony Wright of Health Access says he’s pleased the state expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.
But he’s concerned the new budget proposal doesn’t cancel a 10% cut in Medi-Cal provider rates.
“We think that this shows the need to invest in the program," says Wright. “Those folks need access to doctors and specialists. With a low rate, that means that there’s a number of doctors who simply don’t take those patients.”
The California Medical Association says retaining Medi-Cal provider cuts in next year’s budget could have terrible consequences for the state’s lowest-income patients.