California Counties To Receive Federal Aid for Indigent Care Programs

Over the coming months, California counties could receive tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to expand health services for indigent residents, including former prison inmates, Kaiser Health News reports.

As early as this June, about 500,000 uninsured Californians could start benefiting from the federal funds, according to state officials. The expansion of indigent care services is expected to affect many of the 130,000 former prison inmates discharged annually in California.  

Background on Federal Funds

The federal assistance stems from an agreement that state officials negotiated with the Obama administration to receive early access to funds under the federal health reform law.

The funds will serve as a bridge to 2014, when the reform law will usher in a major expansion of Medicaid.

Funding Requirements

Eligible local programs will receive federal reimbursements at the rate of 50 cents for every local dollar spent. To qualify for the funds, counties must:

  • Ensure that public hospitals meet new accessibility requirements;
  • Maintain current spending levels for indigent care;
  • Offer extensive health care provider networks; and
  • Provide a full range of benefits, including coverage for mental health services (Schmitt, Kaiser Health News, 3/28).
Robert Forster
130,000 inmates released annually is a sobering number. It takes some hope out of the future for my children living in California. That being said, meeting the funding requirements should be very difficult given our fiscal condition. Even given the 50% federal match (our money anyway-taxes), we are broke. It is cognitive dissonance for me to think we can spend more currently. This is not a comment on the merits of the program. Sometimes reality is a brick wall. Rob MD

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