COMMUNITY CLINICS: Health Advocates Make $50M Funding Appeal
Fearing that lawmakers may bow to more powerful constituencies during the budget battle, advocates for the uninsured yesterday lobbied for funding for a proposed $50 million program to expand community health clinics, the Sacramento Bee reports. More than 100 health care advocates rallied at the Capitol, demanding fair treatment for the state's poor. According to Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), a "crisis of leadership" resulted in 7.3 million uninsured California residents, despite the state's "unprecedented prosperity." With fewer businesses providing health benefits, the working poor have turned to nearly 700 community health clinics in the state for care. In 1998, those clinics provided care for 2.6 million residents, regardless of patients' ability to pay. Although the state projects a $12.3 billion budget surplus, health advocates have watched the Legislature's Budget Conference Committee table major health care legislation in favor of bills involving education, tax cuts and transportation. "[E]ven with the budget surplus, not enough money remains to satisfy the competing factions," advocates argued (Rojas, 6/8).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.