Orange County Supervisors’ Budget Proposal Increases Direct Health Spending 30%
The Orange County Board of Supervisors this week unveiled a $4.6 billion FY 2001-02 budget proposal, which increases direct spending on health care by 30%, the Orange County Register reports. The budget proposal increases funding for the Health Care Agency from $363 million this year to $420 million next year. Most of the agency's funding increase will come from federal and state safety-net programs, but direct county spending would increase from the current $40.7 million to $52.8 million. Additional funding would be used to provide medical care for inmates and to fund upgrades for "in-demand" health positions. Despite the increase, health advocates say that other counties spend "far more" per capita on health care than Orange County. According to its FY 1999-2000 budget, Los Angeles County spent 14 times more per capita on health care than Orange County. Michele Revelle of the Orange County Medical Association said that the county should increase funding for its Medical Services for the Indigent program, which reimburses hospitals and clinics for treating low-income residents. The supervisors' budget proposal increases funding for the program to $43.9 million, up from $42.4 million this year, but Revelle said that rising prescription drug costs will "eat up" the increases (Reed, Orange County Register, 5/24).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.