The California Department of Finance has said it doesn’t need a $6 million donation from The California Endowment. The money is aimed at helping people stay signed up for Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.
Kaiser Health News reports the decision not to accept the money struck some Democratic legislators and healthcare advocates as odd. This is especially true since the $6 million would make the state eligible for matching funds from the federal government. Also, the state accepted a $26 million gift from the same group last year to help with the expansion of Medi-Cal under Obamacare.
The decision may be based, in part, on who pays for Medicaid benefits in each case. Those newly signed up under expanded Medicaid are covered by the federal government, but those who were previously eligible are only 50% covered. That means every person who remains on Medi-Cal costs the state money. KHN estimates rejecting the money will result in about 3,600 people dropping off the rolls; that will save the state approximately $8 million.
Democratic State Senators Ed Hernandez and Mark Leno have introduced legislation to force the state to accept the donation. Hernandez told KHN, “I can’t see leaving money on the table.”