Schwarzenegger Agrees Not To Reduce In-Home Care Workers’ Wages
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday agreed to eliminate from the fiscal year 2004-2005 state budget plan a proposal to reduce wages for people who provide in-home care to seniors and people with developmental disabilities, according to sources briefed on the budget negotiations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill et al., San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2). Schwarzenegger had proposed reducing in-home care workers' wages to the state minimum wage rate. Some Democratic legislators opposed the move, which some said could have saved the state about $130 million in FY 2004-2005 (California Healthline, 6/25). According to the Los Angeles Times, Schwarzenegger on Thursday announced through aides that he expects to reach a state budget agreement by Friday.
In related news, Schwarzenegger administration officials said that by next month, they will be prepared to present a plan to reorganize Medi-Cal, which could reduce annual program costs by $400 million, the Times reports (Halper, et al., Los Angeles Times, 7/2). The Department of Health Services in January announced the launch of a yearlong effort to reform Medi-Cal, which provides coverage to about 6.8 million California residents. In March, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kim Belshe said five working groups had been formed to work on Medi-Cal overhaul plans and to provide state officials with input from legislators, beneficiaries, local government officials, providers, health plans and others directly affected by the reforms. The governor's plan, which will require approval by the Legislature and the federal government, is expected to propose higher copayments for some services; new restrictions for program beneficiaries; new regulations addressing services for the blind and people with disabilities; and an enrollment cap (California Healthline, 6/21).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.