Lawmakers Reject Plan to Eliminate Program That Pays Spouses, Parents to Care for Relatives
A recommendation to help reduce the state's projected $15 billion budget deficit by eliminating a state program that pays spouses and parents to care for family members with disabilities has been rejected by a legislative committee, the Sacramento Bee reports. The state's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office had advised lawmakers to eliminate the In-Home Supportive Services Program, a move that could save the state and counties up to $48 million a year. Under the program, the state pays people to provide home care for relatives who are elderly, blind or have disabilities and meet additional eligibility requirements. Half of the program's cost is usually covered by federal Medicaid funding, but regulations bar the federal government from paying for care provided by relatives who "already have a legal obligation to care for a child or a spouse." In California, state and county government covers the costs for 15,000 families that fall into that a category. The Bee reports that a "remarkable ... outcry" from people with disabilities who are cared for by a spouse or parent persuaded lawmakers to retain funding for the program. Sen. Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) said, "I know from my constituents that there are way too many cases where the only option available for that individual is to be served by a family member, and we can't just take that away" (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 3/29).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.