California Healthline: State ‘A Few Weeks’ From Waiver Draft

by David Gorn

The state is weeks away from finishing the first draft of a new 1115 federal Medicaid waiver, according to Jennifer Kent, director of the Department of Health Care Services.

In her first legislative hearing since being appointed director last month, Kent told the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services about potential gaps and opportunities in the state’s health care system.

One of the big opportunities on the horizon, she said, is renewal of the 1115 waiver. The five-year, $10 billion “Bridge to Reform” waiver helped create the Low Income Health Program and implement the Affordable Care Act. It is due to expire in October and the state plans to submit a new proposal to federal officials that builds from the success of the first waiver.  

“We’re looking at 2015 as kind of the deep breath after we have rushed to get to the finish line of 2014,” Kent said. “Now that we’ve implemented the basic provisions [of the ACA], how do we go about refining our work?”

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