Los Angeles Times Suggests Changes to Medi-Cal, Healthy Families
A Los Angeles Times editorial published today argues that "Congress' failure" to enact "promised health care reforms" -- "especially for working-poor families" -- has shifted the responsibility of fixing the system to governors' offices. While commending Gov. Gray Davis (D) for his plan to offer Healthy Families, or CHIP, coverage to parents in "working poor families" as well as their children, the editorial suggests two other "especially urgent" reforms. The first would "streamline" Healthy Families and Medi-Cal into a "seamless program" that would ease enrollment and re-enrollment for families. Currently, many families must apply for multiple programs at different offices to insure children of different ages. The second change the editorial advocates is the elimination of the "asset test" to determine if families are eligible for Medi-Cal. Counties currently spend $1 billion annually to ensure people "are not hiding assets," but that money would be better spent delivering health care. Since few cases of "fraud or corruption" are found, the editorial argues, the test should be waived. The editorial concludes, "[E]xpanding public health insurance is the only remedy" for a system "currently full of perverse incentives that should offend Democrats and Republicans in equal measure" (Los Angeles Times, 11/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.