Legislature Approves Budget; Implications for Health Care Unclear
The Legislature on Thursday approved a $117.5 billion fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget that leaves state health leaders "with a lot of questions," the Fresno Bee reports (Ellis, Fresno Bee, 7/8).
Under the budget, general fund spending for health care, schools, prisons and other programs would increase by 10.3% to $90.1 billion in FY 2005-2006. In addition, the proposed budget would allot an additional $20 million to increase nurse training programs, maintain the state's contribution to wages for in-home support services workers and shift some Medi-Cal beneficiaries to HMO plans (California Healthline, 7/7).
However, details of implementing an agreement with the federal government on Medi-Cal need to be finalized, including the allocation of federal funds to public and private safety-net hospitals that provide services to low-income residents. Lawmakers would have to pass legislation to implement certain terms and conditions of the waiver (Fresno Bee, 7/8).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to sign the budget next week.
Four Republican Assembly members were unsuccessful in inserting four amendments to prohibit the state from spending money on family planning and abortion clinics (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8).
In what has become "an annual budget-vote tradition," amendments to require parental consent for minors to get an abortion, ban the use of state money for late-term abortions, ban Medi-Cal from purchasing or selling aborted human embryos and limit state funding for abortions to $3 million were rejected, the Los Angeles Times reports (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 7/8).