California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Legislature Nears Deal Ahead of Budget Plan Deadline

During a joint budget committee meeting on Tuesday, California Senate and Assembly Democrats neared a deal on a final budget plan after compromising on several proposals, including spending on public health care programs, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (Megerian, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/9).

Background

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released the revised version of his fiscal year 2015-2016 budget plan, which includes several health care proposals.

Among other things, Brown's revised budget plan would allot:

  • $91.8 billion for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program;
  • $326.7 million for pay increases over two years for the In-Home Supportive Services program; and
  • $228 million to help pay for costly specialty prescription drugs.

In late May, Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly followed up with Brown's proposal, releasing separate budget plans that differed on various key spending proposals.

The two plans both assumed that the state will get about $2.5 billion more in revenue than estimated in Brown's revised plan.

The plans differed significantly on how to spend that money, but both proposals sought to spend $228 million to restore cuts made to the In-Home Supportive Services program.

The final budget, which would take effect July 1, is due June 15 (California Healthline, 5/27).

Details of Committee Meeting

During the committee meeting on Tuesday, Democratic state lawmakers reached deals on several key issues ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/9).

For example, the democrats agreed on a plan that includes a 5% increase to reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal dental providers beginning July 1, while all other Medi-Cal providers would see a 5% payment increase by April 1, 2016 (Miller, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/9). According to "PolitiCal," the proposal would cost the state $40 million in the next budget and about $130 million annually each year after that.

The compromise budget plan also includes $40 million to expand health care to undocumented children.

According to "PolitiCal," the state Legislature is expected to vote on the budget deal on Monday ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/9).

Programs for Developmentally Disabled Could Shutter Under Plan

In related news, programs for California residents with developmental disabilities could end if the final budget does not increase their funding, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The programs offer job training and other skills to 280,000 Californians with disabilities. However, stakeholders say that funding for the programs has remained largely unchanged since 2007 (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/10).

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