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Legislature Also Passes Waiver Bills!

Over the past two days, as the state budget has consumed most of the energy and attention in Sacramento, the legislature also passed AB 342 (Perez) and SB 208 (Steinberg), the state’s identical 1115 Medicaid Waiver implementation bills.

However, these bills were passed while the state is still in the midst of on-going discussions with CMS over the details of the $10 billion waiver plan.

So why did the legislature vote on the bills now?

Well, the bills include urgency clauses which allow them to take effect immediately; this requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature (which they received). With almost all of the members in town this week to vote on the budget, it seemed like a perfect (and perhaps, the only) time to get a quorum on the vote before the current waiver expires on October 31st.

Additionally, an official stamp of approval from the legislature is an important step to eliminate confusion and ambiguity over the new ways Medi-Cal will run and to limit lawsuits over wording in those new Medi-Cal rules.

Therefore, the language in bills that passed last night is somewhat general, allowing the state and CMS to have some room to negotiate the final details of the waiver.

All that said, great progress was made on many fronts last night.

For a quick-and-easy outline of what’s in the waiver bill, be sure to check out ITUP’s three-page waiver legislation summary.