Orange County Overall Costs Decrease, While Health Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Costs Rise
The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reviewed the $1.3 billion budget for community services agencies, including the Health Care Agency, noting that the "slight drop" in overall costs will not offset increases in costs for retirement, health insurance and workers' compensation insurance, the Los Angeles Times reports. Supervisors "grudgingly trimmed" county department funding requests for the $541.7 million discretionary budget for fiscal year 2004-2005, according to the Times. The budget for FY 2003-2004 was $588 million. The decrease in county costs comes despite a $48 million increase in spending for retirement and a $12 million increase in health insurance costs. The budget proposes a 30% increase in retirement costs, a 9% increase in health insurance spending and a 20% increase in workers' compensation insurance costs (Pasco, Los Angeles Times, 6/16). A county budget analysis released in April noted that the upcoming budget would reduce mental health services for the uninsured and reduce funding for alcohol and drug treatment programs and family clinics (California Healthline, 4/29). Budget hearings will continue Wednesday, with a final budget vote scheduled for June 29 (Los Angeles Times, 6/16).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.