Orange County Proposes Preliminary Budget Including Cuts To Health Care Programs
In the next fiscal year, Orange County will eliminate about $50 million in funding to programs that provide health care and other services to the elderly, poor and "troubled youths," according to a county budget analysis released Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Times, budget cuts are expected to hit the county Health Care Agency "hard." Stephen Dunivent, manager of the county Budget Office, said that the planned budget cuts would reduce mental health services for the uninsured and reduce funding for alcohol and drug treatment programs and family clinics. According to the Times, Orange County may have to implement additional budget cuts "once the state approves its final budget." County Executive Officer James Ruth said that if the state budget proposed in January is approved, the county will have to make an additional $62 million in budget cuts. County budget officials said that more than 24 county agencies proposed budgets totaling about $546 million after initially requesting $595 million. Orange County had a budget of $558 million for fiscal year 2003-2004. Thomas Sacco, the county's financial planning manager, said, "It's not something we're going to grow out of. It's something we're going to have to deal with by reducing services and cutting back needs and wants." The county Board of Supervisors has until June 30 to approve a budget for FY 2004-2005 (Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times, 4/28).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.