Dec 20, 2012

The move to expand the Medi-Cal program -- a function of the Affordable Care Act -- to include some 2 million new adults would save the state billions of dollars because of the infusion of federal money.  


From Scott Graves at the California Budget Project: "The cost to California of expanding Medi-Cal coverage is projected to account for less than 2 percent of total state Medi-Cal spending over the next 10 years. Specifically, the report projects that California is on track to spend about $375 billion on Medi-Cal between 2013 and 2022 — without taking the Medi-Cal expansion into account."

"Expanding Medi-Cal as envisioned in the federal Affordable Care Act would add only about $6 billion to the state’s costs over this 10-year period, equal to just 1.7 percent of total projected state Medi-Cal spending."

"The study estimates that the state’s relatively modest $6 billion investment would allow an additional 1.9 million Californians to access affordable health care coverage through Medi-Cal in 2022 alone."

The Brown administration appears to embrace the Medi-Cal expansion, although it's keeping its options open.

From the LAT's Anthony York: "Gov. Jerry Brown’s top healthcare official appeared to embrace an expansion of the state’s Medi-Cal system as California moves to implement the healthcare overhaul signed by President Obama in 2010."


"A new report from the Let’s Get Healthy Taskforce, co-chaired by Diana Dooley, Brown’s secretary for Health and Human Services, says “expansion of coverage through the Health Benefit Exchange and Medi-Cal will be an important step” that can particularly help African American and Latino populations, who together comprise nearly half of the state’s estimated 8 million residents without health coverage."


"In an interview Wednesday, Dooley said Brown was still making final decisions about how to proceed with implementing the federal law, and that expanding Medi-Cal was not the only way forward."


Incoming tax revenue declined below expectations during November, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Finance.


From the LAT's Chris Megerian: "California tax revenue has slipped further below goals set by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, according to a state report released Tuesday."


"As of the end of November, taxes were 3% short in the fiscal year that started in July, a gap of $936 million. A month before that, they were only 0.7% short."


"H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, said November was a particularly weak month because tax revenue related to Facebook stock came in earlier than expected. That boosted October taxes higher, while decreasing November revenue."


Meanwhile, San Bernardino says its bankruptcy isn't a sham, as CalPERS alleged, but that it can't make its payments because it simply doesn't have the money. 


From Calpensions' Ed Mendel: "A federal bankruptcy court in Riverside is scheduled tomorrow (Dec. 21) to hear a CalPERS plea to block or delay San Bernardino’s eligibility for bankruptcy, a key leverage point for creditors as CalPERS acknowledged in a court filing."


"San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy Aug. 1, getting an automatic stay of debts. If the court rules that the city is eligible for bankruptcy, the leverage shifts to the city as it negotiates a plan to “adjust” or cut its debt to emerge from bankruptcy."


"The court can rule on whether the plan of adjustment is fair, but cannot impose a plan. As the city noted in a filing: “The court can confirm a plan of adjustment even if some classes of creditors do not approve, a process known as ‘cram down.’”


Speaking of pensions, the benefits for James Alderson, a WW II veteran, came a little too late.


From Aaron Glantz at the Center for Investigative Reporting: "After seven months of delay, the Department of Veterans Affairs finally approved World War II veteran James Alderson's pension benefits last week."


"That was too late for Alderson, whose life's work was the farm supply store he founded near Chico after returning home from the Battle of the Bulge. The 89-year-old veteran had died three months earlier in a Yuba City nursing home..."


"The VA's inability to pay benefits to veterans before they die is increasingly common, according to data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The data reveal that tens of thousands of veterans are being approved for disability benefits and pensions only after it is too late for the money to help them."

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