California Healthline: Insuring a Better Future for the State?

by David Gorn

State officials and health care experts yesterday said the governor’s decision to sign on to optional expansion of Medi-Cal could be a huge step forward for California’s health system — and a huge challenge, as well, they said.

More than 700 stakeholders gathered in downtown Sacramento for the  annual conference of the Insure the Uninsured Project heard dozens of experts evaluate how far California has come in implementing health care reform, and how far it still has to go.

Adding roughly 1.4 million Californians to Medi-Cal eligibility in the optional expansion (adding adults up to 138% of federal poverty level) may be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years, but it also brings a boatload of work to the state. It’s worth the extra effort for the sake of beneficiaries and for the savings the state stands to make in reduced hospital and emergency department costs, said Diana Dooley, state Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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