Health Care Lobbyists Propose Plans in Preparation for Davis Budget Proposal
Gov. Gray Davis (D) plans to release his proposed fiscal year 2003-2004 budget on Friday, and lobbyists in a number of industries, such as health care, have proposed plans to help cover the state's estimated $34.8 billion budget deficit and avoid reductions for their organizations, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plans "all share a common theme: They point the finger at someone else," according to the Times. For example, pharmacy owners, who have raised concerns that Davis may propose reductions in their Medi-Cal reimbursements, have recommended that state lawmakers target pharmaceutical companies to address the budget deficit. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has released a position paper that alleges that pharmaceutical companies overcharge consumers and recommends that state lawmakers require Medi-Cal beneficiaries to use generic treatments, rather than decrease reimbursements to pharmacies, to reduce program costs. The paper said that pharmaceutical companies should "bear their fair share" of increased Medi-Cal costs "because they are driving up drug use" (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 1/3). In addition, the California Medical Association plans to partner with union and business leaders to reform health care in the state. "We might be at a point ... to finally get universal health coverage and stop wasting billions on health care," CMA Executive Officer Jack Lewin said (Rojas/Korber, Sacramento Bee, 1/6). The CMA also supports a bill, sponsored by Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), to fund hospital trauma centers through a five-cent tax on alcoholic beverages (Los Angeles Times, 1/3).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.