Jerry Brown wants assurances from Washington on healthcare law
Gov. Jerry Brown says he wants to continue to move aggressively to expand healthcare coverage in California under the federal law signed by President Obama in 2010, but wants to ensure Washington does not try to stick the state with the bill for covering millions of people now without health insurance.
“My concern is that as we add 1-2 million new people to Medi-Cal, the federal government says they’re going to pay 100% of the costs, but now suddenly if they’re saying they may only pay 70% or something else …” Brown said in an interview Thursday. “That would be a huge threat to the [state’s] general fund.”
The governor said the state's ability to expand coverage under the law is contingent on the federal government keeping its promise to states to pay for the entire cost of newly eligible Medi-Cal recipients.
“As the guardian of the public purse here, I have to watch very closely what may come out of Washington,” he said. “So we’re going to move carefully. We want to make sure the federal government is on board.”
Brown said he intended to ask federal healthcare officials for a series of “waivers and law changes to run our Medi-Cal program in a way where we can get the most bang for our buck.”
Brown will outline some of those plans in the budget he unveils on Jan. 10.
-- Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Associated Press