Davis to Announce Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Proposal at Noon Today
Gov. Gray Davis (D) plans to unveil his fiscal year 2003 budget at noon today, and the Contra Costa Times reports that the proposal will likely "protect" funding for some state health care programs, despite the state's estimated $12 billion deficit. Davis "seeks to preserve the health care safety net," including nursing home inspections and Medi-Cal eligibility, Diana Bonta, director of the Department of Health Services, said. In addition, the budget will likely expand programs such as the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The budget also will likely preserve a breast and cervical cancer treatment program and include a $22.4 million increase to help provide AIDS drugs to "people in need of assistance." However, the Times reports that "there [will] be cuts" in Davis' proposed budget. He plans to eliminate a cancer research program and reduce reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal providers and drug manufacturers, which the Times reports "is sure to provoke controversy." Bonta said, "All of us have been a bit concerned about this budget year. It does mean some very difficult choices in the health care arena" (Pardington et al., Contra Costa Times, 1/10). Davis said Tuesday in his State of the State address that his budget, which he must balance under state law, will include a "combination of cutbacks, deferred spending, internal borrowing and accelerated revenue" but "will not increase taxes" (California Healthline, 1/9). State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) said, "The governor will propose and the Legislature will dispose of the budget in whatever way they see fit. But I'll tell you one thing, we ain't going to balance a $12 billion deficit on the elderly, poor, disabled and mentally ill" (Lucas/Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/10).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.