California’s Bid to Require Medicaid Co-Payments Fails For Now

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February 6, 2012; Source: Business Week | The Obama administration blocked a bid by the state of California to require co-payments from Medicaid patients. The payments would have levied fees of $3 to $5 for drugs and $100 per day for hospital stays. Visits to the doctor or the emergency room would have come with a co-pay of $5 or $50, respectively. The proposed change would have allowed health care providers to turn prospective patients away for an inability to meet the co-payment. If the measure had been allowed, it was expected to save the state $575 million in the next fiscal year.

The federal government refused the waiver because there was no support for it in law or policy. California is expected to appeal the ruling to Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius, but it is not expected to prevail. –Ruth McCambridge