Davis’ Proposed Budget Would Cut $12M from Public Insurance Outreach Programs
Gov. Gray Davis' (D) proposed fiscal year 2002-2003 budget would cut $12 million in funds used to advertise Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, including $6 million for school- and community-based outreach programs that employ workers to enroll eligible individuals, the Los Angeles Times reports. The recently approved Senate budget plan also includes the proposed cut, but the Assembly approved a plan that would restore $6 million of that funding. A budget conference committee is expected to begin work to finalize the Legislature's budget plan this week. According to health advocates, cutting funding for outreach would hurt efforts to improve the health of poor and low-income residents and would place more stress on the state's health system. Outreach workers go to public schools and community centers, searching for eligible but unenrolled children and adults and providing assistance with the enrollment process. "Cutting off the funding for outreach is like cutting off your nose to save your face. It may save a little money now, but it will cost a lot in the long run," Michael Cathey, an outreach coordinator with Community Health Councils Inc., said. Sixteen outreach workers from UC-San Diego Community Pediatrics have begun a letter-writing campaign objecting to the proposed cuts, Health Insurance Access Through Schools Program Supervisor Elaine Pizzola said (Haynes, Los Angeles Times, 6/2).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.