Davis Highlights First-Term Accomplishments, Warns of Budget Reductions in State of the State Address
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday warned in his State of the State address that the state will have to make "severe cuts" in some services, such as health care, to address an estimated $34.8 billion budget deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports. In his 25-minute address, Davis highlighted the accomplishments of his first term in office, such as expanded health coverage for children and new laws on abortion rights, stem cell research and paid family leave (Jones, Los Angeles Times, 1/9). Davis said, "One million more children have health insurance than four years ago. ... Five more veterans' homes are being built" (Davis address text, Los Angeles Times, 1/9). Davis also warned that he will propose "cuts in nearly every program" when he releases his fiscal year 2003-2004 budget proposal on Friday, although he did not provide specific details (Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 1/9). However, Davis said that the proposal "will protect, to the extent possible, the gains we have made in public education, public safety and children's health insurance" (Gledhill et al., San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9). Davis also called on the state lawmakers "in the strongest possible terms" to approve $10 billion in budget reductions that he proposed last month, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 1/9). The proposal includes budget reductions for Medi-Cal. Under the plan, the state would reduce income eligibility limits for Medi-Cal to 61% of the federal poverty level. The proposal also would require Medi-Cal beneficiaries to reverify their eligibility each quarter rather than each year. In addition, the plan would eliminate optional Medi-Cal benefits, such as dental care and medical supplies. The plan also would reduce Medi-Cal reimbursement to physicians and other providers by 10% (California Healthline, 12/10/02).
Davis also proposed a new Life Sciences Initiative to increase the number of laboratory technicians, improve the transfer of technology from the University of California and increase access to grants. He said, "For those of us who've experienced the pain of watching a loved one slip away, these aren't just numbers on a ledger. These are our mothers and sisters, our brothers, and our family and friends. And their stories summon us to focus our best skills and resources on building healthier, longer lives" (Jones, Los Angeles Times, 1/9).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.