Restoration of State Funding for Health-Related Programs Depends on Resolution of Pension, Local Government Issues
In his fiscal year 2004-2005 state budget May revision, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) called for the elimination of some funding cuts to health and human services programs that he had proposed in January, but restoration of funding to such programs now "hinges" on whether the Legislature can resolve disagreements over restructuring local government and selling pension obligation bonds, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25). Schwarzenegger's May budget revision eliminated a plan to reduce Medi-Cal reimbursements to providers by 10%, as well as proposed enrollment caps for Healthy Families. The revision also eliminated plans to limit enrollment for programs that provide prenatal care for undocumented immigrants; recommendations to limit enrollment in the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program; and plans to reduce funding for the In-Home Supportive Services Program, which helps seniors and disabled Californians live at home. It reinstated funding for the Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer, which provides treatment for low-income, uninsured men with prostate cancer (California Healthline, 5/14). Democratic leaders and Schwarzenegger also have not "settled" whether a proposal to reduce in-home workers' wages to the state minimum wage rate will be reversed, the AP/Fresno Bee reports. Democrats say that they want to restore the $130 million, revised from $98 million, to protect the wages of in-home workers (Chorneau, AP/Fresno Bee, 6/25).
Schwarzenegger said, "There's a little bit more than $2 billion when we solve" the local government restructuring and pension issues, adding, "Then there will be a little bit of money left ... for various different things that (Democrats) need. So, this is all doable." Assembly and Senate leaders said "progress was being made on all areas of disagreement," the Chronicle reports. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) said, "We feel really good about where we are" (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25).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.