House Health Care Bill Could Increase Costs for California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 9, 2009
One part of the House bill allows more people to enroll in the public health program for the poor – called Medicaid, or Medi-Cal in California. But California’s ongoing multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls could cause some problems.
“California cannot afford its current Medicaid program.”
Kim Belshé is the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. She says eventually the state would have to pay up to 10 percent of the cost to cover about two million more people in Medi-Cal. And she says the state would have to increase payments for primary care doctors who see Medi-Cal patients.
“California would be required to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions in additional dollars if not up to $2 billion a year associated with these additional, unfunded requirements.”
Belshé says these funding changes wouldn’t start for at least five years.

The effort to overhaul the nation's health care system could face an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate which is expected to start debating its own version next week.