Final CA Budget Could Eliminate Acupuncture from Medi-Cal (Feb 20, 2009)
Friday, February 20, 2009
Final CA Budget Could Eliminate Acupuncture from Medi-Cal
Optional Benefits Might Be Restored by Federal Stimulus Funds
Today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the 2009-2010 California State Budget approved by the legislature earlier in the week.
The final version of the budget could eliminate funding for "optional benefits"--including acupuncture, chiropractic, podiatric, psychological, optometric, and dental services--in the Medi-Cal program.
The defunding of optional Medi-Cal benefits is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2009. However, these cuts would not be enacted if California receives sufficient funds from the recently signed federal economic stimulus package.
The final state budget package assumes that California will receive a conservatively projected $7.8 billion of federal revenue as part of the recently enacted federal stimulus package. The California budget bill contains a "federal revenue trigger" that could restore funding for optional Medi-Cal benefits including acupuncture. If the total revenue ultimately received from the federal government by April 1, 2009, exceeds $10 billion, cuts to these Medi-Cal services would be avoided.
The total budget shortfall projected by the Governor is nearly $40 billion for the current budget year. Nearly $15 billion in spending cuts were adopted in order to bridge this gap.
CSOMA will provide updates as this situation continues to develop.
Medi-Cal is California's implementation of the federal Medicaid program.