Davis Promises To Improve State Economy, Protect Children’s Health Insurance Programs in Second Term
Gov. Gray Davis (D) in his inaugural address yesterday promised to improve the state's economy and to protect programs that provide health insurance for low-income children in his second term, the Los Angeles Times reports (Jones, Los Angeles Times, 1/7). However, he did not outline specific health care proposals (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/7). "We must tighten our belts without hardening our hearts. And to the extent possible, protect our progress in public education, public safety and children's health insurance," Davis said (Jones, Los Angeles Times, 1/7). He added, "For too long, our investments in education, health care, public safety and vital services have been determined by a roller-coaster ride of revenue peaks and valleys. This year, we must do more than just patch over the problems that plague our fiscal house. Our task is far greater than balancing the books. We must rewrite the book on California budgets," he added (Davis address text, Los Angeles Times, 1/7). Davis will provide more details about his proposals for health care and other policy areas in his State of the State address tomorrow. He will release his fiscal year 2003-2004 budget proposal on Friday; the state faces an estimated $34.8 billion budget deficit (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/7).
Davis will likely propose budget reductions that would affect programs that serve low-income state residents, such as Medi-Cal, which could result in more than one million new uninsured residents and increase hospital and health insurance costs, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. In addition, the proposed reductions could prompt physicians to no longer accept new patients enrolled in Medi-Cal, and nursing homes may reject beneficiaries with "complex medical conditions," the Business Journal reports; community health clinics also may cancel expansion plans (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/3). As a result, state lawmakers this year will likely consider proposals to help the state's uninsured residents, despite the estimated budget deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports (Vogel/Ingram, Los Angeles Times, 1/6).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.