Healthy Families, Other Programs Sidestep Budget Axe After All
California lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) have used a variety of maneuvers to restore funding for Healthy Families and other programs whose budgets were cut in the state's July spending package, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In the case of Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) negotiated an agreement that included a continuation of a state tax on Medi-Cal managed care plans and an increase in monthly premiums and copayments for Healthy Families beneficiaries.
Together with a donation from the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, the deal provided enough revenue to let the state avoid dropping coverage for as many as 700,000 kids.However, it will be difficult to craft similar agreements in the future, largely because the contribution from First 5 wiped out about half of the program's reserve fund, which took about 10 years to build, according to First 5 Executive Director Kris Perry (Knutson, Wall Street Journal, 10/5). 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.