Sacramento Bee Looks at Effects of Proposed Funding Cuts to In-Home Care Services Program
In the first in an occasional series on funding cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in his fiscal year 2004-2005 state budget, the Sacramento Bee on Monday looked at a proposal that would reduce by one-third funding for In-Home Supportive Services, which uses federal, state and county money to subsidize salaries of home-care workers for low-income residents who would otherwise need to live in nursing homes. Enrollment in IHSS, "the fastest growing program in the state," has increased by 52%, from about 200,000 to 300,000 in five years, according to the Bee. During the same time, annual costs have increased from $1.4 billion to $2.7 billion. The $450 million in proposed state budget cuts would affect the "residual" program of IHSS that does not receive federal funds to pay for the home-care of about 75,000 patients, the Bee reports. The legislative analyst estimates that 27,000 program beneficiaries would lose all benefits if the funding cuts are approved. In addition, Schwarzenegger proposed reducing the minimum hourly wage rate for home-care workers from $9.50 per hour -- the state-subsidized wage -- to $6.75 per hour. He also proposed reducing annual program costs by $95 million by repealing a 1999 state law that requires counties to establish centralized authorities for home care, the Bee reports. Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kimberly Belshe said that although the administration "is committed" to keeping critical services for elderly and disabled residents, "we are seeking to do so in a way that better manages costs" (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 3/22).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.