Patt Morrison for February 27, 2012

Federal government refuses Governor Jerry Brown’s petition for Medi-Cal leeway

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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

The California Governor has run up against a formidable foe in his plans to reform the state’s Medi-Cal plan: the federal government. Gov. Brown has indicated he would like to start charging Medi-Cal patients co-pays for emergency room and routine doctor and dentist visits. Only three years ago, the government issued a Section 115 waiver to California, allowing the state leeway in its administration of federally subsidized health care funds so it could introduce fastrack enrollment. This time around, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to extend the same privilege. “I think there’s a wiser path than the one we’re on,” stated Gov. Brown.

“I think there’s a wiser path than the one we’re on,” stated Gov. Brown.


Should the federal government loosen up restrictions and allow California to continue to individually tailor subsidized-health care programs? Or is it too dangerous a precedent to set, one that will surely entice other states to line up for similar exemptions, as Illinois already has?


Kavita Patel, adjunct assistant clinical professor, UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine

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