Medi-Cal is the foundation of California’s health care safety net and a major component of the state’s budget. It covers nearly half of California’s children and residents with disabilities, one in five California workers, and more than a million California seniors.
California has a new governor, as well as new representatives in the State Senate and State Assembly. Together, these leaders are tasked with providing oversight of the Medi-Cal program and for making policy decisions about its direction. Among the issues they’ll need to address are ensuring the program is strong and sustainable for the millions of Californians who rely on it for coverage, continuing to focus on the future of care integration and delivery system transformation pilots that are currently financed through the state’s Section 1115 waiver, which expires in 2020, and making sure the state is getting the best value from its managed care program.
Understanding the policy and programmatic issues facing Medi-Cal requires knowledge of the basics of the program. In this briefing, the first in a series sponsored by CHCF, experts provided an overview of Medi-Cal, including the people it serves and the services it provides, as well as the organization, oversight, and financing of the program. Jennifer Kent, director of the Department of Health Care Services, also offered thoughts about its future.