Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

January 28, 2013
John A. Pérez proposes to expand Medi-Cal by a million people

More than 1 million low-income Californians would become eligible for health care coverage through Medi-Cal under legislation proposed Monday by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.

The measure is meant to lay groundwork for President Barack Obama's federal health-care reform, which requires all Americans to obtain insurance by next year or pay a penalty.

Pérez's proposal, Assembly Bill 1X-1, would provide coverage to single adults whose income is less than $15,400 per year, representing roughly 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

"California is the national leader on implementing health care reform, and I am pleased to be authoring this critical measure which will ensure more Californians have access to quality, affordable health care," Pérez said.

January 28, 2013
Health care providers ask court to block Medi-Cal rate cut

Health care providers are asking federal judges today to reconsider a December decision by a three-judge panel that allows California to slash Medi-Cal rates.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers approved a 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements to doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and other providers as part of their 2011-12 budget. The reduction had been tied up in litigation since 2011, but a three-judge panel at the U.S.9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the state could move ahead.

When Brown declared this month that California's budget is finally balanced, he assumed the state would save $488 million general fund from the court-approved Medi-Cal cut.

January 28, 2013
Microsoft says it's 'not involved' in Kings move to Seattle

Microsoft is distancing itself from CEO Steve Ballmer's involvement in an investor group seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings, saying the software corporation has no stake in the matter.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg stirred controversy last week when he sent the Department of General Services a letter asking for information about California's business dealings with Microsoft. Critics interpreted the move as an unwarranted threat, but Steinberg, who represents Sacramento, said he was merely serving his constituents.

In response to a query from the Bee, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that Ballmer's role in the group seeking to move the Kings to Seattle is unrelated to Microsoft's business operations.

"The effort to build a new professional sports arena in Seattle was initiated and is led by San Francisco-based developer, Chris Hansen, who has announced a number of investors, including Steve Ballmer," said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified. "Microsoft Corporation is not involved in the effort."

January 28, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Serious budget problems still possible

Better news from ratings' agencies aside, Dan says, California's state budget situation remains shaky.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

January 28, 2013
AM Alert: Community college leaders hear from Capitol crowd

VIDEO: Dan Walters warns that, credit ratings aside, California could still face serious budget problems.

HIGHER ED: Community college leaders from around the state are in Sacramento today, meeting with legislators in the Capitol and attending day two of the Community College League of California's annual legislative conference. They'll hear from a long roster of speakers including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Sen. Marty Block, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, Assemblyman Das Williams and California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White.

MEDI-CAL: Today doctors and hospitals who sued the state for cutting the rates at which they get reimbursed for serving people on Medi-Cal will ask for a new review of their case. They want the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, after a three-judge panel ruled in December that the rate cuts were permissible. It's been an ongoing fight between the Brown administration and the California Medical Association, the California Hospital Association and other medical interests that oppose the rate cuts Gov. Jerry Brown proposed back in 2011.

DISTINGUISHED GUEST: Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner and members of the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce are welcoming a South Korean dignitary to the Capitol today. Tae Hee Yim, South Korea's national minister of labor and former chief of staff to the country's president, will be in California for two weeks trying to establish business partnerships between his country and our state. At a 1 p.m. press conference in the Capitol, Wagner will present a resolution to honor Korean War Armistice Day in July.

EARTHQUAKES: Sen. Alex Padilla is announcing a bill to create a statewide early warning system for earthquakes. He'll be joined at a 10 a.m. presser in Pasadena by experts from the U.S. Geological Survey, Caltech, UC Berkeley and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

FLU SHOTS: Anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot yet can get one for free today in the Capitol. Anthem Blue Cross is providing them to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. in rooms 126 and 127. Not that we're pointing out any possible PR stunts, but it was just two weeks ago that the health care company was blasted for raising its rates.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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