Budget Crisis Forces State To Delay Medi-Cal, Other Payments
On Monday, California will begin delaying some Medi-Cal payments to address theÂ state's budget impasse, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
State Controller John Chiang (D) has said he needs to delay nearly $3.7 billion in payments this month to ensure that the state has enough funds for public education and to make debt payments mandated by the state's constitution (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/1).
The state's budget deficit is projected to reach $42 billion by mid-2010 (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 1/30).
The delay in payments will continue until lawmakers and Schwarzenegger agree on a budget (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 2/1).
Other Effects on Health Care
Beginning on Friday, state workers, including some health care workers, will be forced to take a two-day furlough each month (California Healthline, 1/30).
Chiang will not provide the state's $188 million February contribution to supplemental Social Security benefits that about 1.3 million elderly, blind or disabled Californians depend on for their monthly living expenses.
However, last week, a spokesperson for the controller's office said that the federal Social Security Administration has agreed to cover the state's portion of the benefits until California has the funds to pay it back (Ventura County Star, 2/1).
County programs that treat California residents for mental health and drug abuse will also be affected (McGreevy/Rau, Los Angeles Times, 2/1).
Effect on Counties
Some county officials say payment delays will affect local health programs in the months ahead.
Mike Murphy, executive director of Empower -- an Orange County center that provides programs for 67 developmentally disabled adults -- said he would not be able to pay his 21 employees after March and then might have to end the program completely (Los Angeles Times, 2/1).
The following recent editorials examined the state's budget crisis:
- "Editorial: Time for state lawmakers to solve budget mess" (Contra Costa Times, 1/31).
- "Mercury News Editorial: Outrageous budget fiasco has shamed California" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/31).