California elected officials approved a controversial plan that will enroll members of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, in Kaiser Permanente’s MCO — shifting those same enrollees off the books of the insurers that currently claim them as members. That’s despite the vociferous objections of 16 county-run MCO plans, which stand to lose hundreds of thousands of members in the transfer to Kaiser Permanente, according to the CEO of the largest plan involved.
Kaiser Permanente did not have to participate in the normal Medi-Cal MCO bidding process to strike the deal. Instead, the integrated health system and insurer, which is based in Oakland, worked directly with the office of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to develop a bill, Assembly Bill No. 2724 (A.B. 2724), authorizing the no-bid contract. State legislators approved the bill on June 29, with the lower chamber, the Assembly, voting 48-15 in favor and the Senate approving the deal 25-7.