Davis Signs $103B Budget After Making $554M in Cuts
Twenty-six days after the state's constitutional deadline, Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday signed a $103.3 billion budget that includes more money for some health initiatives and cuts in other services, the Los Angeles Times reports. Davis said, "It's responsible, it's reliable, it hopes for the best but prepares for the worst" (Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 7/27). Davis added, "This was not an easy year. We had stops and starts. But in the end, this is a product I am proud of. This is a product that does honor to California" (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 7/27). The budget includes $819.8 million to expand Healthy Families to include parents of enrolled children (Office of the Governor release, 7/26). Once fully implemented, the program will cover an estimated 518,000 working parents, the "vast majority" of whom live in Southern California, according to the Pacific Institute for Community Organization (Los Angeles Times, 7/27). Davis, however, deleted language in the budget bill that "commits the administration to fully fund [Healthy Families] for 'families' instead of just 'children.'" In a veto message, Davis said, "This capped program is not intended to be an entitlement." He added that California will pay for parents as long as state and federal resources are available (Sacramento Bee, 7/27). Davis also agreed to set aside the estimated $500 million the state receives each year as part of the national tobacco settlement to be used on health care expansion. The budget also includes the following:
- $31 million for community clinics (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/27);
- $9.5 million to adopt a federal Medicaid provision providing "full-scope medical coverage" to female beneficiaries diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer;
- $92.8 million to increase reimbursement rates for long term care providers;
- $58.2 million to improve the quality of In-Home Supportive Services and strengthen recruitment and retention in the programs;
- $19.2 million to expand services and benefits for emancipating foster children; and
- $15.3 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (Office of the Governor release, 7/26).
Davis cut $554 million -- including $103 from the Department of Health and Human Services -- out of the Legislature's version of the budget to increase the state's reserve fund to $2.6 billion. The budget signed by Davis deletes $5.7 million for youth treatment programs, $3 million for drug court programs and $2 million for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The budget also contains a $4 million cut in HIV prevention and education programs. Dana Van Gorder, director of state and local affairs for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said, "We are at a loss as to why the governor would cut $4 million from HIV prevention programs in the face of troubling evidence that HIV infection rates are rising in California. The unfortunate move indicates that Davis was willing to rob Peter to pay Paul in finalizing the state's allocations for critical HIV services" (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/27).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.