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County could lose $70 million with Medi-Cal expansion

STAFF WRITER

SAN BERNARDINO • San Bernardino County is slated to lose $70 million from its budget in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 as the state seeks to expand Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, according to an interoffice memo by the county chief executive officer.

In his May revisions to the proposed state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to take about $300 million away from counties, using the funds for the statewide health care expansion for the poor in 2014.

According to 2nd District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, about 200,000 people in San Bernardino County are indigent and would be impacted by the Medi-Cal expansion. She said the counties believe the state should hold off on redistributing the Medi-Cal funds until it is known how the expansion will play out in each county.

“If the county continues to have expenses then some of that money should come to the county and not the state,” she said. “It’s a significant hit and it’s such a complex issue. We don’t know, and we won’t know, and we’re saying make the decision after it is known rather than guess.”

A quorum of the county Board of Supervisors met briefly in Sacramento with three board members of Riverside County and six members of the state Inland Empire delegation to discuss the budget impacts of the Affordable Care Act and court funding within the region, according to county spokesman David Wert. Rutherford, 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood and 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales were in the state capital to attend the California State Association of Counties conference.

“Our legislators are very aware of our issues so now it’s up to the Budget Conference Committee and the Governor,” Rutherford said.

According to the memo by county CEO Gregory Devereaux, the recent state budget revisions contain no significant reductions to county-administered programs with the exception of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In 2013, the county also estimates a reduction of $11 million in 1991 Health Realignment funding, the memo stated.

The proposed budget will be voted on by both houses of the legislature and passed by June 15, according to state law. From there it will be submitted to the Governor for signature.

Contact the writer: BSelf@DesertDispatch.com or 760-256-4123.


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