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Obama blocks CA from charging for care in Medicaid

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, February 7, 2012

The Obama administration blocked an effort by California to charge Medicaid patients for emergency room visits and hospital stays and allow healthcare providers to turn away those who couldn't pay. A law signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in March would have assessed co-payments in Medicaid for a variety of medical services, including prescription drugs. The co-payments were expected to save California $575 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance. The administration was "unable to identify the legal and policy support" for California's request, Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote in a letter today to Toby Douglas, chief deputy director of health-care programs for the California Department of Health and Care Services.