Documented Immigrants Protest Schwarzenegger’s Proposed Funding Cuts to Health and Human Services
Documented immigrants and advocates on Thursday met before the Senate Budget Committee, which has jurisdiction over health and human services legislation, to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to "scrap a provision in his proposed budget that would reduce funding for certain health care, food and income-support programs," the Sacramento Bee reports. The proposal would give counties block grants to administer Healthy Families and three other programs and could reduce Healthy Families funding by 5%. According to the Bee, depending on how the administration implements the changes, "counties could be free to alter benefit amounts and eligibility rules" under the programs. An estimated 24,000 documented immigrant children would be affected by the proposed changes. According to the Department of Finance, the changes would save the state $6.6 million. H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for the finance department, said, "We think it's going to provide counties with greater flexibility and better priority-setting in providing health and human services to immigrants at the local level." However, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has said that "the programs proposed for transfer to the counties are not well-suited for local control." The office added that "the state has an interest in maintaining uniformity in benefit levels. Otherwise, (it) would lead to migration effects, whereby one county's reduction in benefits spurs others to reduce benefits in order to avoid becoming a benefit 'magnet'" (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 4/16).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.