News from our friends at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

California’s legislature passed a budget today, June 24 to close a $23.1 billion deficit. The final budget includes $15.5 billion in program reductions. Many of the cuts come from reductions in health and human services, including a huge hit to Healthy Families. There are no new revenues in the package. The budget now goes to the Governor, who has said publicly he will sign.

While some may consider this good news as the state, having run out of money, has been issuing IOUs, the final budget agreement is a huge step backwards for California, and will ultimately cripple the state. Without an educational system where our children can learn, a health care system where people can get the care they need, and help when Californians need a hand up, our leaders have left all of us without the opportunities to prosper and be healthy. It’s truly a dark time for California.

The following cuts were adopted, although full details of the plan are still being reviewed:

Healthy Families
: A $124 million cut that would deny coverage to over 500,000 children at a time when the federal government is talking about expanding health coverage. In anticipation of these cuts, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board imposed an enrollment freeze on July 17.  More children may have to be dropped from the program as a result of the additional cut.

Medi-Cal: This program will face a cut of $323 million, though it is unspecified where the cuts will come from. The budget agreement also calls for California to seek a federal waiver to make structural changes to the program. The budget assumes receipt of $1 billion in federal funds for Medi-Cal. If these funds are not received the program could result in additional cuts. The budget deal appears to include an agreement to advance the Governor’s proposal to privatize county eligibility workers for Medi-Cal and other human services programs. The proposal would replace county workers with private contractors, a move that has already been ineffective in other states.

In-Home Supportive Services: A $94.2 million reduction in services and an elimination of the state’s contribution to the share of cost. In addition, statewide fingerprinting of recipients and caregivers.

CalWORKs
: Sweeping changes starting in 2011 that include a 25% reduction in grant levels in cases where parents cannot comply with federal work requirements and a 50% reduction in cases where a parent has been sanctioned. Parents would also be limited to 48 consecutive months of cash assistance. An additional proposal repeals automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for CalWORKS, SSP, and many other areas of the budget.

Other Health Cuts Previously Adopted by the Budget Conference Committee Include:
·    $106 million cut to Mental Health Managed Care Services and the EPSDT program
·    $33 million cut to HIV/AIDS care$26.8 million cut to Adult Day Health Care
·    Thirty-percent cut to community clinics including Rural Health Services, Seasonal Migratory Worker services, Indian Health program and Expanded Access to Primary Care
·    Elimination of the state Immunization Program
·    Cutting community application assisters
·    Suspending a children’s dental disease prevention program
·    $11.5 million cut to maternal and child health care
·    $4.9 million cut to coverage for mothers and newborn babies in the Access for Infants and Mother program
·    Cuts to K-12 education and community colleges of $6.1 billion, and $2 billion to higher education

Follow the budget with CPEHN at www.cpehn.org.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 4:22 pm and is filed under Health Parity Alerts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.