Yes on 52: Stop diverting Medi-CAL funds

Crystal Zhong/Staff

OK, this one’s a little complicated. The federal government’s Medicaid program helps support low-income patients in California by matching funds that the state puts into Medi-CAL. So to get federal funding, the state has to provide its own. In 2009, the state enacted a program that required private hospitals to pay a fee, and that money went to Medi-CAL. For every dollar that private hospitals paid in fees, Medi-CAL got $2.

But in the past year, some of the funds from the hospital fee program were diverted to the state’s general fund, which meant Medi-CAL lost funding initially reserved for it.

Again, this program was created for the explicit purpose of creating a consistent stream of money to Medi-CAL. When the state Legislature decides to divert funding away from it, that does everyone a disservice.

Voting yes on Proposition 52 would require the state Legislature to get voter approval before diverting funds. And when it comes to taking money best spent on the health care of underprivileged Californians, it seems like a decision best not left to a group of largely upper-class white men in Sacramento. Proposition 52 is something Californians need — so let’s make it happen.

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