Health Officials ‘Skeptical’ That Budget Will Include More Funds for Disease Surveillance
Although health officials around the state anticipate funding increases to care for poor and uninsured patients, they are "skeptical" about whether the state budget will provide additional funding for disease surveillance, the Bakersfield Californian reports (Terwilleger, Bakersfield Californian, 7/24). On Monday, the Assembly approved the $101 billion budget, sending it to the desk of Gov. Gray Davis (D) (California Healthline, 7/24). The budget includes a funding increase for Healthy Families that would allow the program to cover parents of already enrolled children. Parents with annual incomes up to 250% of the poverty line would be eligible. The budget also would give more funds to clinics that specialize in caring for the uninsured and boost funding for HIV/AIDS prescription drugs, as well as $30 million for "trauma care planning and implementation." Disease surveillance, however, may not get as much funding as originally expected, the Californian reports. In January, Davis proposed increased funding for disease surveillance, but in May he "backed away" from that stance. The Californian reports that Davis "might not approve" the $3 million proposed in the state budget for surveillance and could reduce that amount to $1 million. Bruce Pomer, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, said, "If he vetoes $2 million, it's ridiculous. ... It's inexpensive to provide good disease surveillance control compared with how much it costs to provide medical treatment" (Bakersfield Californian, 7/24).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.