Assembly Member Cardenas Says Republican Stalling on Budget Could Jeopardize Health Clinic Funding
At a rally outside of San Fernando-based Northeast Valley Health Center yesterday, Assembly member Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar) "blamed" Republicans for jeopardizing funding for area clinics by "stalling action" on the state budget, the Los Angeles Times reports. Cardenas said that the working poor could lose access to primary health care because $16 million in new health funding has been put on hold while state lawmakers battle over the budget. Lawmakers failed to approve the $101 billion budget before the July 1 deadline. The Times reports that budget negotiations have been "deadlocked" over the reinstatement of a quarter-cent sales tax, expected to raise $600 million in the first half of 2002. Republicans are opposed to the reinstatement, calling it a "tax hike," while Democrats maintain that boosting tax revenues is necessary. Responding to Cardenas, Assembly member George Runner (R-Lancaster) said that he was "not convinced" that clinics would close because of the budget delay, adding, "We are not going to be blackmailed into voting for a budget through Democratic scare tactics. It's really in the hands of the Democrats." However, Mandy Johnson, executive director of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said that most clinics "do not have enough reserve money to sustain an interruption in funding," adding that 33% of Los Angeles County residents lack health coverage, the "most of any county" nationwide (Pierson, Los Angeles Times, 7/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.