Oops: Obamacare in California Costs $1.2 Billion More Than Expected

Enrollment in California’s healthcare program for the poor has soared as the state implements President Obama’s federal overhaul, pleasing advocates who have sought expanded coverage but also presenting new costs for the state.

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Enrollment is expected to exceed previous estimates by 1.4 million, and administration officials said it would cost the state $1.2 billion more than originally thought.

While unveiling his newest budget proposal on Tuesday morning, Brown said expanded healthcare coverage represented “a huge social commitment on the part of the taxpayers of California.”

“I’m proud we did it,” he said. “But we also have to take into account this thing is growing.”

Although the federal government picks up the tab for any patients who became eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, the state is still responsible for half the price for people who were previously eligible but hadn’t yet signed up. . . 

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