Cutting Funding for Community Clinics Does Not Make Sense in Long Run, Mercury News Says
Gov. Gray Davis' (D) proposal to cut funding for California's community clinics by $10 million could increase health costs in the long run and should be reconsidered, a San Jose Mercury News editorial says. The editorial does not "fault the governor for trimming the current state budget" at a time when the state is facing a $12.4 billion deficit, but says that "Davis and the Legislature must ask themselves where remaining funds can be spent in ways that end up saving the money in the long run." Community clinics -- which serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay, and accept Medi-Cal and Healthy Families enrollees when private physicians will not -- are "past masters, not only at stretching every dollar like a rubber band, but at heading off problems when they're manageable, before diabetes leads to blindness, or hypertension to heart failure." Still, the state's community clinics are "already under-financed," even as demand -- spurred by increasing unemployment and cutbacks in public health programs -- continues to grow. The editorial concludes: "California's health care safety net is being stressed and frayed as never before. No one area deserves to be cut, not hospitals, not trauma centers, yet all are being asked to absorb cuts in financial support." But the state's network of community clinics is the one "system [that] can do the most to relieve those stresses if it gets the money it needs" (San Jose Mercury News, 12/31/01).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.