Calif. Assembly, Senate Budget Committees Pass Spending Plans
On Friday,Â California's Assembly Committee on Budget and Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee passed nearly identical state budget plans, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) praised lawmakers for acting quickly on the plan he introduced about six weeks ago (Lagos et al., San Francisco Chronicle, 2/19).
Brown proposed $12.5 billion in spending cuts and $12 billion in temporary tax extensions to help close California's $26.6 billion budget shortfall over 18 months (Lin, AP/Ventura County Star, 2/18).
Legislators made a few minor changes to Brown's $84.6 billion spending proposal, which called for more than $6 billion in cuts to health care and welfare-to-work services for low-income residents (York, Los Angeles Times, 2/18).
Assembly and Senate Plans
Both the Assembly and Senate budget committees rejected Brown's plan to eliminate California's adult day health care program (AP/Ventura County Star, 2/18). The Assembly committee's plan would cut $28 million from the program, while the plan approved by the Senate panel would reduce spending on adult day health care services by $151 million (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/19).
The plans approved by the legislative committees did not incorporate all of Brown's proposed cuts to In-Home Supportive Services and Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Los Angeles Times, 2/18).
Changes to Medi-Cal
Both budget committees approved a plan to establish mandatory copayments for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, which would reduce state spending by about $584 million, according to a Senate analysis.
The plan calls for copays of:
- $3 and $5 for some prescription drugs;
- $5 for physician and dentist visits;
- $50 for emergency department visits; and
- A maximum of $200 for hospital stays.
The plan also calls for the state to reduce Medi-Cal payments to health care providers by the amount of the copays.
Health care providers have expressed concern that they will face higher costs if Medi-Cal beneficiaries are unable to afford the higher copays (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 2/20).
A joint legislative conference committee now will work to reconcile differences between the Assembly and Senate budget plans.
Brown said he hopes to have a final spending proposal before the full Legislature by March 10 (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/19).
On Friday, KPCC's "KPCC News" reported on Brown's efforts to reach a deal with state legislators to close California's budget deficit ("KPCC News," KPCC, 2/18).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.