February 14, 2020 - In this report, we provide high‑level background on the Medi‑Cal program and an overview of the major drivers of year‑over‑year spending changes in the Governor’s budget. We also discuss the administration’s recent submittal (late January 2020) of a modified managed care organization (MCO) tax proposal. We then provide analysis and recommendations on a series of key issues: (1) Recently proposed draft federal regulations referred to as the “Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation;” (2) proposals related to the Medi‑Cal pharmacy services benefit; (3) the Governor’s proposal to expand comprehensive Medi‑Cal coverage to otherwise eligible seniors regardless of immigration status; (4) proposed changes to rate‑setting for skilled nursing facilities; (5) issues related to county administration of eligibility and enrollment functions in Medi‑Cal; and (6) the Governor’s proposal to end dental managed care in the current two pilot counties and instead provide dental care as a fee‑for‑service benefit statewide. We conclude this report with a summary of our recommendations.
Corrected 2/20/20: Corrected to remove Alameda County from the list counties participating in the Coordinated Care Initiative.
February 20, 2014 - The report analyzes the Governor's 2014-15 health budget proposals. In it, we (1) provide an analysis of the impact the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)--known as federal health care reform--is having on the Medi-Cal program; (2) analyze the Governor's budget proposal to exempt certain, but not all, classes of Medi-Cal providers and services from retroactive recoupments of payment reductions; and (3) assess the fiscal outlook for the California Health Benefit Exchange, also known as Covered California.
November 4, 2013 - The LAO’s annual California Spending Plan publication details the 2013-14 budget package, including legislative and gubernatorial actions through October 2013. (Our office released a preliminary electronic version of the report on July 30, 2013 that summarized legislative and gubernatorial actions through that date.) Major features of the 2013-14 budget plan include $2.1 billion for a new formula to distribute funding amongst schools, a state-based plan to expand Medi-Cal to cover more than one million additional low-income adults, and selected program augmentations.
March 9, 2017 - In California, the federal‑state Medicaid program is administered by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) as the California Medical Assistance Program (Medi‑Cal). Medi‑Cal is by far the largest state‑administered health services program in terms of annual caseload and expenditures. In this report, we provide an analysis of the administration’s caseload projections, including a discussion of the projected increases in ACA optional expansion caseload. We also provide an assessment of several aforementioned major factors affecting projected changes in Medi‑Cal spending in 2017‑18 and other policy changes proposed by the administration. These include the Governor’s proposed uses of Proposition 56 revenues, the proposal to shift additional New Qualified Immigrants (NQIs) to Covered California in 2017‑18, assumptions around federal CHIP funding, and the proposed abolition and transfer of the Major Risk Medical Insurance Fund (MRMIF).
December 16, 2022 - This brief looks at health care coverage in California; provides background on the drivers of the significant decline in the percentage of Californians without health care coverage over the last ten years; and discusses various issues that could impact the number of Californians with coverage, and how the type of coverage they have may change, in calendar year 2023 and beyond.
May 1, 2013 - Letter to Honorable Bill Monning, Chair, Senate Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services, regarding the estimated costs related to provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will likely result in additional Medi-Cal enrollment from persons who are currently eligible for the program, but not enrolled.
February 13, 2019 - In this report, we describe the major changes and proposals in the Governor's proposed $100.7 billion (all funds) Medi-Cal budget. Specifically, we advise the Legislature to seriously consider renewing the managed care organization tax, despite the Governor not proposing to do so; present issues for consideration related to the Governor's proposed expansion of comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage for young adults regardless of immigration status; and provide an initial assessment of the Governor's proposals to use Proposition 56 funding in Medi-Cal to extend and expand provider payment increases. We recommend approval of the Governor's proposals to improve fiscal oversight of the Medi-Cal budget, and also recommend that the Legislature require the administration provide additional information to the Legislature in an effort to improve fiscal oversight and transparency of this very large, complex budget going forward.
November 16, 2022 - This brief provides our annual fiscal outlook for General Fund spending in Medi-Cal. It summarizes our projections, describes the major factors driving our projections, and highlights several uncertainties.
October 30, 2014 - The integration of eligibility and enrollment processes of health and human services (HHS) programs has long been an important issue for the state. In this report, we focus on the integration of three key HHS programs: the California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal), CalFresh, and the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. We also raise several issues for legislative consideration, including (1) determining the appropriate balance between local control and standardized statewide processes, (2) considering whether automation systems currently under development could be leveraged to strengthen integration, and (3) considering whether additional programs should be integrated.
February 10, 2023 - This brief provides an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for Medi-Cal, assesses the administration’s assumptions on caseload and COVID-19-related policies, and analyzes the Governor’s managed care organization tax proposal.
November 18, 2015 - California's state budget is better prepared for an economic downturn than it has been at any point in decades. Under the main economic scenario in this year's LAO Fiscal Outlook, 2016-17 would end with reserves of $11.5 billion, assuming the state makes no new budget commitments through next year. If the economy continues to grow through 2019-20, annual operating surpluses and larger reserves could materialize, and there may be capacity for some new budget commitments—whether spending increases or tax reductions. An economic or stock market downturn, however, could occur during our outlook period. To illustrate this economic uncertainty, we provide projections under alternative scenarios such as a hypothetical recession that causes budget deficits to re-emerge. The more new budget commitments are made in 2016-17, the more likely it is that the state would face difficult choices—such as spending cuts and tax increases—later.
February 9, 2022 - This brief analyzes the Governor’s budget proposal for Medi-Cal. We include an analysis of the administration’s caseload projections, provide options for renewing the managed care organization tax (that the Governor proposes to let expire), and provide our assessment of the discretionary budget proposals to provide equity and practice transformation payments and eliminate certain existing provider payment reductions.