Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Mitch Katz says Obamacare should be used to cover housing costs for the homeless.
“If I can take care of someone at a lower cost by providing them with housing, why wouldn’t the federal government let me?” Katz told The Atlantic. Katz says homelessness spawns illness and should therefore be considered a health-related expense.
Others, like San Francisco Housing and Urban Health Director Marc Trotz, agree.
“There’s a growing acceptance of the idea that for homeless people, housing is a valuable health service,” said Trotz. “That’s the health service that’s going to help them the most.”
Katz says he wants California to let housing count as a Medi-Cal expense, a move he claims will save the state money.
Clinton Administration Medicaid and Medicare director Bruce Vladeck says the idea is wrongheaded.
“Medicaid is supposed to be health insurance, and not every problem somebody has is a health care problem,” said Vladeck.
According to the Los Angeles Times, California spends $17 billion a year on its Medi-Cal program.