Medi-Cal, California Budget Woes, and the ACA

The unfortunate facts are what they are: California’s fiscal hardships are just as bad as you thought, possibly worse. According to a new report released this week, the cost of Medi-Cal in particular has put a real strain on California’s budget.

From coverage of the report this week:

Tops on the list of concerns in the report is the high cost of Medicaid, the federal program providing health care for the poor or disabled and administered here in California via the state program Medi-Cal. Funding for the health care services, and rules about eligibility and spending, are shared between states and the feds.

“The rapid growth in Medicaid spending has pushed aside other types of state spending,” says the report.  “Both the states and the federal government need to find ways to contain and control Medicaid costs.”

Regarding Medi-Cal, the question remains what will happen to the program–and how it will impact the budge–under the new Affordable Care Act, which a Daily News report indicates will provide health care (in part through Medi-Cal) to over 2 million residents in Los Angeles alone.

One pharmacist argues this week that the ACA will provide more competition to insurance companies, which could benefit health care providers and provide incentives for offering better care–competition could mean higher reimbursements.

From the article:

As a local pharmacy owner, […]the cash price of prescription drugs is not “stunningly less” than the insurance price. Insurance companies have been squeezing reimbursements to ALL healthcare providers (including pharmacies) over many years now, and have funneled money away from providers (who take care of patients) in order to boost corporate profits. […] those who have health insurance are ALREADY paying for the uninsured through the outrageous and ever increasing premiums that we pay. Being a business owner who provides generous benefits to my employees, I can attest to this fact first-hand. And the insurance companies, unchecked by real competition (that a government supported exchange would otherwise provide) keep raising their premiums at will.