LAO Comments on ACA, Prison Estimates in Brown’s Budget Plan
A state Legislative Analyst's Office report released Monday notes that the Affordable Care Act implementation estimates and prison population reduction plan in Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) fiscal year 2014-2015 budget proposal, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
However, state Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said the budget proposal would "place California on an even stronger fiscal footing" heading into the year and recommended that lawmakers generally follow the plan (Williams, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/13).
Background on Budget Proposal
Brown's $154.9 billion spending plan would include:
- $106.8 billion in general fund spending;
- $11 billion to repay state debts; and
- $1.6 billion to create a discretionary "rainy day" fund.
It would include $670 million to expand existing Medi-Cal benefits. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In addition, California's In-Home Supportive Services would receive a 6.4% increase in funding under the plan, bringing its general fund share to about $2 billion.
Brown's proposal also would keep Medi-Cal providers from having to repay the state for a 10% reimbursement rate cut that is retroactive to 2011 (California Healthline, 1/9).
LAO's Comments on ACA Implementation
The LAO report notes that Brown's fiscal estimates related to Affordable Care Act implementation "are similar to [LAO's] most recent estimates," but that both figures are "subject to considerable uncertainty and are based on limited data."
LAO said more information will be available in coming months after data are collected about the effects of the Medi-Cal expansion, which took effect Jan. 1.
LAO's Comments on Prison Overcrowding
Meanwhile, the report notes that Brown's entire budget assumes that the state will come up with an agreement with inmate attorneys "on how to implement a long-term [prison] overcrowding solution." The report states that it is unclear what will happen if the extension is not granted.
In addition, LAO states, "The administration has not yet provided an analysis of county jail needs or other rationale for why the level of funding proposed is needed for jail projects or what criteria would be used to award the lease-revenue funding," which will make it "difficult for the Legislature to assess whether the additional funding will be allocated in a manner that is cost effective and in line with state priorities."
The report calls for the Brown administration to "provide details on how each proposal would be implemented, such as how the proposed community re-entry facilities would be operated and how inmates would be selected to be placed in the limited space available at such facilities" (LAO report, 1/13).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.