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Expand Medi-Cal without major funding increases? It can be done

Expand Medi-Cal without major funding increases? It can be done
A nurse measures the height of an 11-year-old boy covered by Medi-Cal at a clinic in Fontana in 2013. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Instituting efficiencies into the Medi-Cal system could result in major savings and better service for California. (“Medi-Cal benefits were cut in the Great Recession. It’s time to restore them,” editorial, May 4)

All 58 counties individually administer applications, process paperwork and conduct annual reviews of Medi-Cal recipients. The consolidation of these processes, especially “bundling” groups of counties into coalitions, would save tens of millions of dollars.

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Every application for Medi-Cal resembles a full-blown IRS audit; this simply cannot be justified in terms of protecting the state or the program’s integrity. Incidentally, Medi-Cal already has one of the largest, most sophisticated collection agencies in California, which is dedicated to collecting liens from deceased recipients and recovering funds from providers for overpayments.

In other words, the archaic process Medi-Cal uses to collect information from applicants can be largely replaced with current state resources.

Politicians are loathe to do the hard work of streamlining bureaucracies, but that’s where the issues meet: If we use our current Medi-Cal funding more efficiently, we can help more people and expand benefits.

Michael McGuire, Palm Desert

The writer is an attorney with the California Elder Law Center.

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To the editor: Evidently, you missed the big demographic news this week: California’s population growth rate in 2018 was the lowest on record.

We won’t be able to encourage “younger, healthier Californians” to get insurance, pay taxes to support the expansion of Medi-Cal or do anything else if there aren’t any of them.

Victoria McCargar, Encino

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook.

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