Schwarzenegger Budget Proposal Includes Increase for Some Health Programs
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday proposed a $125.6-billion fiscal year 2006-2007 budget that includes a 4%, or $1.2 billion, spending increase for health and human services programs, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/11).
The proposed budget includes:
- $72 million to enroll uninsured children in Healthy Families and Medi-Cal (Halper/Morain, Los Angeles Times, 1/11);
- $100 million to help pay for health care for the new enrollees in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families (AP/Modesto Bee, 1/11);
- A 5% scheduled payment rate reduction for physicians treating Medi-Cal patients;
- $19 million to hire 147 people to inspect nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities and enforce state laws;
- $47 million for new disaster response programs to help the state and local governments prepare for disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks and natural disasters (Los Angeles Times, 1/11);
- $3.5 million for prostate cancer treatment for low-income patients (Sacramento Bee, 1/11); and
- A freeze on cost-of-living increases to 1.2 million blind, elderly and disabled residents to save $233 million over the next two years (AP/Modesto Bee, 1/11).
Most of the increased funding "reflects rapid inflation in existing health care services," rather than new programs, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 1/11).
Under the proposal, the state would spend $6.4 billion more than it expects to receive in revenue in FY 2006-2007 (Los Angeles Times, 1/11). That shortfall would be covered by an expected $7 billion budget surplus from FY 2005-2006 (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/10).
However, the Los Angeles Times reports that the state still faces "multibillion-dollar deficits ... for the next several years" and that "the small savings the state could achieve from suspending cost-of-living increases and cutting other programs for the poor would do little" to address the deficits.
Schwarzenegger also said he would request the authority to cut programs if deficits get too high through the year (Los Angeles Times, 1/11). Lawmakers have until July 1 to approve a spending plan (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/11).
The following articles also address Schwarzenegger's budget proposal:
- "Arnold Plans No New Taxes" (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/11).
- "Schwarzenegger Touts Surging Revenues in Releasing State Budget" (Chorneau, AP/Modesto Bee, 1/11).
- "$7 Billion Challenge" (Quach/Sarhaddi Nelson, Orange County Register, 1/11).
- "State Budget Increases Spending; No New Taxes" (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).
- "Governor Embraces Major New Spending" (Davis/Folmar, San Jose Mercury News, 1/11).
- "Schwarzenegger Submits State Budget" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/10).
The governor's complete budget proposal is available online. A detail of provisions for health and human services programs also is online. 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.