Health Care Stakeholders Line Up Against Proposed Budget Cuts
A number of health care stakeholders that had supported Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal came out in full force against proposed budget cuts that would tighten Medi-Cal eligibility, reduce payments to health care providers and aim to curb state spending on other health care programs.
In a conference call on Wednesday, leaders of the California Medical Association, Catholic Healthcare West and Health Access California underscored their opposition to the proposals and urged state lawmakers to look at ways to increase revenue to address the state budget deficit, rather than rely solely on funding cuts.
That request spurred a spokesperson for the governor to reiterate Schwarzenegger's opposition to tax hikes.
Few, if any, legislators expect to reach a budget agreement before the 2008-2009 fiscal year begins on July 1, and it seems that the governor's critics also expect budget negotiations to drag on through the summer: AARP, CHW, CMA, Health Access and the Service Employees International Union are members of a coalition that plans rallies and media events over the next two months to highlight their opposition to Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed spending cuts.
Although they haven't wrapped up work on a budget deal, California senators and Assembly members have taken action on a number of health care bills over the past week. Here's a rundown.