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Rise in Medi-Cal Enrollment Corresponded to Increases in California County Health Spending During ACA Implementation

September 18, 2018

Policy Brief

Authors: Shana Charles, PhD, MPP, Francis Nepomuceno, Gerald F. Kominski, Ph.D.

​As Medi-Cal enrollment expanded during the early years of expansion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2014 and 2015), county health department spending in California also swelled. For most counties and regions in the state, the two measures tracked closely. However, exceptions in Northern California (with high enrollment and low spending growth) and Central California (low enrollment but high spending growth) show that other factors may also have had an effect. Importantly, if Medi-Cal is turned into a capped block-grant program at the federal level, counties would be heavily impacted and could be left with budget shortages. This policy brief uses data from the 2012, 2014 and 2015 California Health Interview Survey and the 2015 California State Controller.

This policy brief was funded by The California Endowment.

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