Funding Up for Some Health Care Programs in Revised Budget Plan
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday proposed a revised state budget for fiscal year 2007-2008, including a $55 million increase in spending for health and human services initiatives, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Democratic legislators say the proposal is unacceptable because of proposed cuts to social services programs and welfare (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/15).
The revised budget totals $145.9 billion (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/15). The governor's original budget proposal in January totaled $143 billion (California Healthline, 1/11).
The proposed general fund budget of $103.8 billion represents a 1.5% increase above the current fiscal year (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/15).
The budget includes:
- $288.9 million to fully fund the AIDS Drug Assistance Program;
- $214.3 million to revise the state's methodology for determining Medi-Cal reimbursement rates;
- $65.6 million above current funding for community mental health services;
- A $23.8 million increase for Healthy Families, California's State Children's Health Insurance Program; and
- A $17.2 million increase for drug Medi-Cal services.
The governor's proposed budget also includes funding to improve health care services at California's state prisons, including:
- $284.6 million to construct six mental health and dental facilities at seven prison sites; and
- $45.9 million to address court requirements related to medical, dental and mental health services in state prisons (Office of the Governor release, 5/14).
Republican lawmakers criticized the general fund budget for being about $2.3 billion more than the projected revenue for next fiscal year. The gap was closed by funds from previous years and other sources.
Assembly member Roger Niello (R-Sacramento), lead budget writer, said, "We have a long way to go before we settle the budget." He added, "Current spending is greater than current revenue" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/15).
Meanwhile, Democrats criticized the budget revisions as "mean-spirited" for proposing to cut welfare services for underserved residents (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 5/15).