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California Can’t Charge Medicaid Patients for Care, U.S. Says

February 09, 2012

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration blocked an effort by California to charge Medicaid patients for emergency room visits and hospital stays.

A law signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in March would have assessed co-payments for a variety of medical services, including prescription drugs. Together with other changes to Medicaid, it was projected to save the state $1.7 billion.

Federal law prohibits states from requiring co-payments in Medicaid, the U.S. health insurance program for the poor. 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 state Department of Health and Care Services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adriel Bettelheim at

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