Federal government approves California's Medicaid overhaul

Medicaid Overhaul
Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 18:09:37-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. government has approved California’s overhaul of the nation’s largest insurance program for low-income and disabled residents.

The decision among other things allows Medicaid money to be spent on housing-related services as the most populous state struggles with homelessness and a lack of affordable housing.

Starting with the new year Saturday, California will among other things expand what had been a limited “whole person care pilot program” to eligible Medi-Cal members statewide.

Medi-Cal covers one of every three Californians, more than half of school-age children, half of births in California, and more than two of every three patient days in long-term care facilities.

The goal of the new approach is to prioritize prevention and address underlying societal conditions, particularly in populations that have had fewer health care services and faced structural racism in health care, said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Medicaid services will now for the first time formally include substance abuse treatment, including short-term residential treatment when needed.

California has the nation’s largest Medicaid program.