The Obama administration blocked an effort by California to charge Medicaid patients for emergency room visits and hospital stays and allow health-care providers to turn away those who couldn’t pay.
A law signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in March would have assessed co-payments in Medicaid for a variety of medical services, including prescription drugs. The co-payments were expected to save California $575 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance.
The administration was “unable to identify the legal and policy support” for California’s request, Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote in a letter today to Toby Douglas, chief deputy director of health-care programs for the California Department of Health and Care Services.
California’s co-payments would have ranged from $3 to $5 for drugs to $100 per day for hospital stays. Doctor visits would have been $5, and emergency room treatment $50.