The federal government's holiday gift to California's primary care doctors a doubling of the amount they get for treating Medi-Cal patients has been delayed.
The change in reimbursement rates is part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The federal government has agreed to fund primary care for Medi-Cal patients at the same rate that it pays Medicare providers, hoping to expand the number of doctors willing to treat low-income patients before the Affordable Care Act kicks into overdrive in 2014.
In California, which pays one of the lowest Medicaid rates in the country, the boost will mean primary care physicians can expect to receive 136 percent higher reimbursements, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The state Department of Health Care Services says it intends to give higher payments eventually to doctors for treating Medi-Cal clients, including retroactive payments for treatment after Jan. 1.
But the department blamed the delay on bureaucratic reviews that are not yet final, and it suggested other states also won't be able to pay immediately.
Voters hammered Proposition 31 by a 60-40 margin on Nov. 6, but that hasn't stopped state Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Solana Beach, from trying to enact one aspect of the failed budget reform measure. Wyland's Senate Constitutional Amendment 2 would convert California to a two-year budget cycle. If approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, SCA 2 would have to go before voters.
"Tom (Steyer) and Kevin (de León) wanted to play to win. A lot of people go into a campaign thinking it's a Harvard-Yale debate."
CHRIS LEHANE, California-based Democratic consultant, talking to the Ventura County Star about the campaign strategy behind November's Proposition 39, a $1 billion corporate tax increase that won a whopping 61 percent of the vote