California would like to give doctors financial incentives for treating Medi-Cal patients. The state also wants to take a new approach to providing health care to the homeless. Those are two of the proposals that depend on California being granted a Medicaid waiver renewal from the federal government.
Jerry Kominski is the Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. He says the waiver allows states to forego some federal rules in order to test new programs.
"The state has an opportunity to experiment with programmatic improvements," he says. "The conditions are the federal government requires the state to show or to promise that the demonstration will save the government money."
California’s current waiver expires at the end of the month. Kominski says it’s unusual for a renewal to take so long. But he says it won’t affect the overall Medi-Cal program
"What it does is it potentially delays the implementation or continuation of programs that are proposed in the new waiver," he says.
The state says it is still working with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to get the renewal approved.