State Budget Does Little To Help Santa Cruz County Health Programs
At a Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors hearing on Tuesday, Santa Cruz County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello said the newly approved state spending plan only "exacerbates" local budget problems with county health and human services -- including the Healthy Kids insurance program -- bearing most of the burden, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports (Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 3/4).
Local Children's Health Initiatives administer Healthy Kids programs, which provide health insurance for children ages six to 18.Â The programs are open to children from households with annual incomes that do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level who are not eligible for other public health insurance efforts (California Healthline, 2/27).
Mauriello's report on the county's finances found that the state's new budget would not improve, and likely would worsen, the county's $25 million projected budget deficit.
Health Care Cuts?
Mauriello said up to 20% is expected to be slashed from several departments, including the Health Services Agency.
Susan True --Â executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County, which manages funding for children --Â said Healthy Kids is just one of the programs that will have to be evaluated.
She said, "We can't fund everything we're funding now with less than half the budget"
The county also has begun talks with numerous employee unions to negotiate contract concessions, Mauriello said.
The magnitude ofÂ the cuts are unknown, as the county awaits an uncertain amount of funding from the federal stimulus package and the outcome of state ballot measures residents will vote on in May, the Sentinel reports.
One of the ballot measures would shift funding from mental health and children's health care (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 3/4).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.