Republican Legislators Target Medi-Cal, Other Efforts for Cuts
On Tuesday, Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Clovis) said that next week Assembly and Senate Republicans would announce about $11 billion in proposed program cuts that would affect Medi-Cal, welfare, in-home support services and other programs, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
California is facing a projected $27.8 billion budget deficit over the next two years, prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and state fiscal leaders to call on the Legislature to take immediate action (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 12/10).Â
Republican legislators have opposed proposals by Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers that would address the budget deficit by a combination of tax increases and spending cuts (California Healthline, 12/9).
Before Republican lawmakers will consider revenue increases, Villines said that the Legislature must agree on a strict spending cap, permanent budget cuts and an economic stimulus package that would make business-friendly changes to environmental regulations and labor laws.
Through a spokesperson, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said that both spending cuts and new revenue would be needed to address the deficit.
Democratic lawmakers maintain that California's safety net would be undermined by a plan that uses only cuts to close the budget gap (Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
The Health Care Subcommittee of the Senate Budget Committee will hold hearings today on strategies for dealing with the budget deficit (Goldmacher, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) traveled to Washington, D.C., to appeal to members of Congress for an economic stimulus package that could help address California's budget deficit, the San Jose Mercury News reports.Bass is advocating a package that would increase federal funding for state Medicaid programs, infrastructure spending, and additional funds for food stamps and unemployment benefits (Davies, San Jose Mercury News, 12/9). 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.