Governor Reiterates Appeal for $6.9B Increase in Federal Funds
On Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) sent a letter urging California's congressional delegation to help the state secure $6.9 billion in new federal funding, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The request for federal aid is part of the governor's budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
During recent weeks, Schwarzenegger has lobbied for financial assistance because he claims federal formulas have burdened the state with unfair costs for programs such as Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
The governor also has repeatedly stated that California receives 78 cents for every dollar it sends the federal government in taxes.
Schwarzenegger's appeals have faced a cool reception among members of California's congressional delegation.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) released her own study finding that California in 2009 received more federal funds than it sent in taxes, partly because of the federal economic stimulus package.
In addition, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) criticized the governor for blaming California's fiscal situation on the federal government (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/14).
In his letter, Schwarzenegger said the federal government owes California more funding for:
- Medi-Cal reimbursements;
- Medicare disability payments; and
- Medicare drug costs.
The governor also quoted Feinstein and other members of California's congressional delegation who previously criticized federal formulas that placed undue burdens on the state.
He wrote, "Recent comments in the press that California's budget deficit is not Washington's problem turn on its head the very arguments that many in our delegation have made that our taxpayers are being shortchanged by Washington year after year."
Provisional Support for Health Reform?
In his letter, Schwarzenegger also urged state representatives to prevent national health care reform legislation from saddling California with additional costs (Thompson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/13).
He wrote, "I have been a strong and vocal supporter of federal health care reform efforts. I would like to support the final legislation. But without the federal government stepping up to pay its fair share of the cost, California cannot afford any more federal promises" (Office of the Governor release, 1/13).
D.C. BoundNext Wednesday and Thursday, Schwarzenegger is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., with state legislative leaders to meet with administration officials and California congressional members about his requests for federal assistance (Sacramento Bee, 1/14). 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.