California Democrats urge timely renewal of Medi-Cal waiver
Cite high cost-of-living and remaining uninsured levels as need for full waiver
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, led by Delegation Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), today wrote the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging timely and full renewal of the State’s Medi-Cal waiver.
The letter, signed by 37 members of the California Delegation, notes that the 2010 Bridge to Reform waiver “reduced the uninsured rate by more than 59 percent and increased Medi-Cal enrollment by 38 percent,” resulting in an additional 3.5 million low-income Californians insured.
Despite this progress, the letter stresses that the “high cost-of-living and high remaining uninsured levesl despite having implemented the Medicaid expansion” make it critical that California receive a full five-year waiver to “to continue providing high quality car to the Medi-Cal population and to the remaining uninsured.” The current waiver is set to expire on October 31, 2015.
The letter reinforces points numerous California Representatives have made in telephone calls to the CMS over the past several weeks.
The full text of the letter is below and attached:
October 29, 2015
Dear Administrator Slavitt,
As members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, we write in strong support of the timely renewal of California’s Medi-Cal Section 1115 waiver. This waiver provides critical funding for California’s public health care system for five years.
As you are well aware, California’s 2010 “Bridge to Reform” waiver was crucial to the success of one of the earliest and largest adoption of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Since the implementation of the “Bridge to Reform” waiver, our state has reduced the uninsured rate by more than 50 percent and increased Medi-Cal enrollment by 38 percent. As a result, an additional 3.5 million low-income Californians now have health care coverage. By building on the previous waiver’s success, California’s current waiver proposal would continue to improve the health care delivery system, fund both a dental transformation incentive program and a “whole person care” pilot, and integrate health and social services more seamlessly. Additionally, we commend CMS and the State for agreeing to include an Advisory Committee responsible for assessing whether Medi-Cal and commercial plans are complying with California state law requirements that plans have adequate provider networks and consumer access to health care providers.
We greatly appreciate CMS making a good faith effort to negotiate the waiver with the State of California and know that we share the goal of providing high quality care to our low-income populations. We also hope that you take into account California’s unique challenges such as the high cost-of-living and high remaining uninsured levels despite having implemented the Medicaid expansion. In order to continue providing high quality care to the Medi-Cal population and to the remaining uninsured, we urge you to approve this waiver renewal for the full five years as soon as possible. As you know, the current waiver is set to expire on October 31, 2015.
Again, thank you for your tireless effort to develop a waiver that contributes to the long-term sustainability of California’s Medi-Cal program and the safety net. We look forward to partnering with you to ensure that California continues to successfully implement the Affordable Care Act.
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