Health and Human Services 03/22/2013
State Reaches Agreement to Settle Series of IHSS Lawsuits
The state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) reached an
agreement with In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) beneficiaries
and labor organizations on a series of lawsuits related to state
IHSS cuts over the last four years.
The lawsuits stemmed from reductions made in the IHSS program by both the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations, including a 20 percent across-the-board reduction in IHSS beneficiary hours, provider wage cuts, and applying a functional index score to approve or deny IHSS services.
The agreement instead extends the current 3.6 percent cut in IHSS hours and applies a 4.4 percent cut – for a total of 8 percent – in July 2013. The 8 percent reduction will change to 7 percent in July 2013 and will be ongoing thereafter.
This agreement settles the Oster v. Lightbourne and Dominguez v. Schwarzenegger suits.
Health Care Special Session
SBX1 3 (Hernandez) – Support
As Amended on March 6, 2013
SBX1 3, by Senator Ed Hernandez, would create a health care “Bridge Plan” to create a low-cost health plan through Covered California that would help ensure provider continuity for low-income individuals as they move between eligibility for public and private health coverage.
The CSAC Executive Committee supported as similar measure by Senator Hernandez last year (SB 703) that would have created a Basic Health Plan.
The current Bridge Plan will allow low-income individuals to affordably purchase health insurance while maintaining provider continuity and a medical home. The Bridge targets individuals with incomes approximately between $15,000 and $22,000 – those most at risk of being unable to afford coverage. Even with federal subsidies, these individuals will still have monthly premiums and co-pays. Developing affordable coverage options is crucial to ensure individuals and families enroll in coverage, particularly since we know that under best case scenarios 3 to 4 million Californians will remain uninsured five years after health reform implementation.
Additionally, the Bridge Plan would allow low-income individuals to retain their existing health care providers. Many individuals with incomes between 138% and 200% of the federal poverty level are currently enrolled in Low Income Health Programs. The Bridge can help ensure continuity of care for these patients and a seamless transition into managed care.
Twelve counties own and operate county hospitals and health systems. Additionally, a number of other counties own and operate primary care and specialty care clinics. The Bridge Plan would help ensure that county safety net providers maintain a diverse payer mix with Covered California enrollees. Counties believe the Bridge will help counties continue to serve the remaining uninsured.
For these reasons, CSAC supports SBX1 3. The Senate Health Committee passed the bill on March 20 and it will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.