Gov. Jerry Brown continues Medi-Cal negotiations in Washington DC

Kitty Felde/KPCC

File: Gov. Jerry Brown stands away from other Democratic governors at the White House.

Gov. Jerry Brown is pressing the Obama administration to let him go forward with cuts to Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor. Federal money pays for about half of it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wouldn’t grant the state any outright waivers of federal regulations, but the governor says the door is open.

"We’ve talked to the secretary, we talked to people at the White House, we talked to the White House counsel," Brown said, "and there are possibilities that are being examined that will enable California to more tightly manage its Medi-Cal program."

The governor mentioned co-payments as a possibility. His staffer suggested he not mention anything else since negotiations are ongoing. Health and Human Services declined to comment on the negotiations.

The governor returns to California tomorrow after a weekend of meetings in Washington at the National Governors Association.

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