California is trying to house the homeless through a health insurance program. It worked for this man. But what about the rest of us, the ones who don’t have a warm body sitting at our kitchen table, listening to our woes, and sending our donations?
Hospitals and medical facilities are required to cover basic hospital and medical services, including prescription drugs for emergency use or as ordered by a doctor, when the person needing them lives in a state that is participating in the program, called the Medi-Cal program.
Medi-Cal, known in California as the “Medically Needy Program,” was founded with the purpose of providing health care services to people who have limited or no access to health care because, because of their income or because of geographic location, they have difficulty paying for it on their own.
Now, a change. Now, a man living on the streets isn’t getting paid to get sick (and no, that doesn’t make for a great headline) to get meds for an illness that could be easily treated with home remedies.
The new rules require facilities and agencies to pay a certain amount of money to the state Health Care Exchange (HCE), which oversees the program, to cover Medi-Cal payments. The HCE has the ability to cut any payments to the state if the costs of an emergency are not covered, or if the facility or agency doesn’t provide the services or prescriptions ordered by a doctor.
But the HCE is not making the money available to pay for the bills. At least not right now.
The changes are being used to force states in Southern California to change their laws, so that hospitals and pharmacies can continue to get paid if they can show that the Medi-Cal beneficiary lives in California. The California State Legislature has given the option of making these changes to the Medi-Cal program by law, but the executive officials cannot make any changes to the program.
A few weeks ago, the California Hospital Association filed a lawsuit against the state in U.S. District Court, claiming in part that the executive officials of the HCE