Concerns Raised Over Brown’s Plan To Shift Services to Counties
Advocates for California's low-income residents are expressing concern about Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) plan to shift administration of several health and social service programs from the state to local governments, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Brown's newly released budget proposal calls for the creation of a June ballot measure that would extend two taxes worth $5.9 billion for another five years.
The state would direct those funds to local jurisdictions, which then would take control of several existing state-run programs.
Critics of Brown's realignment plan note that local governments have vastly different priorities. They caution that low-income residents might receive lower levels of services in counties that have little political support for social programs.
Under Brown's budget plan, the state would continue to oversee certain programs such as Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. However, counties would have some authority in determining which residents qualify for such programs and how much beneficiaries must pay.
According to aÂ 2010 study by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, about 47% of estimated eligible adults are enrolled in Medi-Cal in San Diego County, compared with 102% of estimated eligible adults in San Francisco County. The study authors note that actual enrollment can exceed eligibility estimates, which are not exact.
Doug Moore -- executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3930 -- said there also are disparities in how much counties pay social service employees, such as In-Home Supportive Service workers. For example, San Diego County pays IHSS workers $9.50 hourly, while San Francisco County pays IHSS workers $11 hourly.
Diane Cummins, an adviser to Brown, said concerns about the governor's realignment proposal are overblown. Cummins said the state will continue to play a role in monitoring the distribution of funds and the delivery of services.
Officials with the governor's office said they will consider concerns about county administration of programs as they work to hammer out details of the realignment plan over the coming weeks (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/23).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.