Governor’s Proposed Cuts to Health, Social Services Draw Fire
Appearing with health, education and labor groups on Friday, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) urged legislators to reject $4.5 billion in spending cuts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) proposed on Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 11/8).
The spending reductions came as part of Schwarzenegger's call for an emergency session of the Legislature to address the state's growing budget deficit, now projected to exceed $11 billion for the current fiscal year.
The governor's proposals include $950 million in cuts to the state Health and Human Services Agency's budget (California Healthline, 11/7).
Many of the health care cuts have been considered before, including proposals to:
- Eliminate dental benefits for adult Medi-Cal beneficiaries;
- Scale back health care benefits for about 250,000 low-income working families; and
- Increase the share of Medi-Cal costs paid by low-income seniors, blind Californians and people with disabilities.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, argues that some of the Medi-Cal spending cuts would result in people developing more serious conditions that are more costly to treat (Wiegand, Sacramento Bee, 11/9).
Instead of the cuts, Garamendi urged lawmakers to raise the state vehicle license fee and other state taxes (Sacramento Bee, 11/8).
Perata, Runner Weigh In
In an appearance on KQED's "Forum" on Friday, outgoing Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) voiced skepticism that legislators would be able to reach an agreement on the budget during the special session and suggested that tax proposals be placed on a future state ballot.
Sen. George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) restated the Republican caucus' opposition to tax increases, adding that Republicans would consider asking voters if they would like to redirect proceeds from existing tax increases that fund mental health services and early childhood health and education programs (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 11/7).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.