GRAY DAVIS: Revised Budget Boosts Funds for Health Programs
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday offered a revised budget proposal that included $1 billion to expand access to health care for the poor, the Orange County Register reports. Although the spending plan calls for a 16% increase, Davis maintained that his budget was prudent in light of the anticipated $6.9 billion year-end surplus. "It's very important to recognize that 1999 was a special year. While we are blessed with extraordinary amounts of money, we should use them wisely," Davis said (Weintraub/McKim, 5/16). Under the governor's plan, rates for physicians who treat Medi-Cal patients would increase 10%, and the Healthy Families program would receive an additional $165 million to expand coverage to more uninsured children and low-income families. Although Democrats applauded the general increases for health care programs, some argued that the funds were not enough. The governor also offers $50 million toward treatment programs for mentally ill homeless people and $50 million to treat mentally ill parolees, but several lawmakers have called for an additional $300 million to help severely mentally ill residents (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 5/16).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.