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Estimated Cost of Expanding Full-Scope Medi-Cal Coverage to All Otherwise-Eligible Californians Regardless of Immigration Status


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Estimating the Cost of Expanding Full-Scope Medi-Cal Coverage to Undocumented Adults

May 10, 2018 - This post responds to several requests for our office to estimate the cost of providing full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented adults over the age of 19 who are currently eligible for restricted-scope Medi-Cal coverage (that is, primarily emergency and pregnancy-related services). Based on a number of key assumptions, we estimate the total net state cost of this coverage expansion is approximately $3 billion in 2018-19. This net cost would be fully a state cost, and represents the change between the cost of providing full-scope Medi-Cal and the costs of providing restricted-scope Medi-Cal to the undocumented adult population.

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[PDF] The 2019-20 Budget: Analysis of the Medi-Cal Budget

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.

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[PDF] The 2022-23 Budget: Health Care Access and Affordability

February 23, 2022 - This brief focuses on access to health insurance coverage and the affordability of health care costs. We (1) assess various Governor’s proposals intended to improve health care access and/or affordability—including expanding Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented residents between ages 26, reducing Medi-Cal premiums to zero cost, establishing the Office of Health Care Affordability, and reducing the cost of insulin through a state partnership; (2) discuss options to improve affordability of health plans purchased through Covered California; and (3) highlight some key access and affordability challenges that remain to address.

Correction (2/24/22): Figure 2 - Number of undocumented residents has been corrected.

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The 2021-22 Budget: LAO Preliminary Comments on the May Revision Medi-Cal Budget

May 21, 2021 - In this post, we provide our preliminary comments on the Governor’s 2021‑22 May Revision proposal for Medi‑Cal. We first provide an overview of the proposal, noting the major changes made relative to the Governor’s January budget, as well as changes made to estimated 2020‑21 spending relative to the January estimates. We then describe, and provide our comments on, the Governor’s proposal to augment the January proposal for the California Advancing and Innovating Medi‑Cal (CalAIM) package. We follow with descriptions of, and comments on, the Governor’s modified telehealth policy proposal, the proposal to extend full‑scope Medi‑Cal coverage to older undocumented immigrants, and the proposal to use American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide financial relief for designated public hospitals.

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[PDF] The 2017-18 Budget: Analysis of the Medi-Cal Budget

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).

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[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Analysis of the Medi-Cal Budget

February 11, 2016 - In this report, we provide an analysis of the administration’s caseload projections, as well as a discussion of the impacts of the ACA on the ability to project caseload. We also provide an assessment of several General Fund cost pressures on the horizon in Medi–Cal, including the sunset of the hospital QAF.

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[PDF] The LAO’s Economic and Budget Projections

November 19, 1998 - In striking contrast to the past two years, when strong revenues provided funds for both tax relief and significant spending increases in education and other program areas, our projections indicate that 1999-00 will be a difficult year.

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The 2015-16 Budget: Analysis of the Health Budget

February 12, 2015 - This report analyzes the Governor's 2015-16 state health program budget proposals. In the report, we review trends in the major health programs since 2007-08 (the last budget developed before the most recent recession), analyze the Governor's proposed restructuring of the managed care organization (MCO) tax, and describe the uncertainty regarding continued federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The report also includes an analysis of the Department of State Hospitals budget and an analysis of the Governor's proposals to improve quality and increase staffing for the Licensing and Certification (L&C) Program administered by the Department of Public Health.

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The 2022-23 Budget: In-Home Supportive Services

February 2, 2022 - This post describes the Governor’s budget assumptions and proposals related to the In-Home Supportive Services program and offers relevant issues for Legislative consideration.

Update (2/7/22): Time requirement for incentive payment to IHSS providers in the state’s HCBS spending plan has been updated.

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The 2023-24 Budget: In-Home Supportive Services

March 2, 2023 - This post describes the Governor’s 2023-24 budget assumptions and proposals related to the In-Home Supportive Services program and offers relevant issues for legislative consideration.

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The 2023-24 Budget: Analysis of the Medi-Cal Budget

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.

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The 2023-24 Budget: Medi-Cal Fiscal Outlook

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.

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The 2016-17 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook

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.

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[PDF] The 2014-15 Budget: Analysis of the Health Budget

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.