Governor’s Budget to Make Severe Health Cuts
Impacting Millions of Californians,
Our Health System, Our Economy

* Under Governor’s Budget, Hundreds of Thousands of Californians Would Lose Coverage
* Over 2.5 Million Would Lose Dental, Vision, Podiatry, and Several Other Benefits
* Public Hospitals Cut; Low-Income Aged, Blind and Disabled Would Have to Pay More

* Cuts Would Harm Health System We All Rely On & Economy; Lost Federal Funds
* More Revenues Needed Just to Match $16 B Cuts of Previous Year, Not Including New Cuts

This budget proposes to deny coverage to a half-million parents, and to deny specific benefits like dental, optometry, podiatry and psychology to millions more. This budget would not only harm the health system we all rely on, but also hinder efforts to stimulate our state’s economy. California would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching funds, doubling–and in some cases tripling–the negative impact of these cuts not just in the health system, but the economy as a whole.

The proposals include:
* Denying nearly a half-million low-income working parents Medi-Cal coverage, by lowering the eligibility from 100% to 72% of poverty level, cutting off eligbility for parents in families of three making more than $13,000. The cut would be $5.2 million in 2008-09; $176.4 million in 2009-10, and $342 million in 2011-12, ultimately impacting over 429,000 California parents. Over 100,000 additional Californians, largely legal immigrants, would lose most of their coverage under other proposed cuts.
* Eliminating dental, optometry, podiatry, psychology, and several other benefits for 2.5 million parents, seniors, and people with disabilities on Medi-Cal coverage. This cut would be $39.4 million in 2008-09 and $258.8 million in 2009-10.
* Siphoning funds away from public hospitals on which we all rely, reducing rates by $54.2 million.
* Imposing significant additional costs on low-income aged, blind and disabled Californians– over 73,000 who make just over $890/month as individuals would have to pay hundreds of dollars a month or forgo care and coverage. This cut would be $28.6 million in 2008-09, and $371.6 million in 2009-2010.
* Eliminating the First Five Commission, and thus the funding for a variety of health coverage and other services for young children, such as “Healthy Kids” programs in various counties. This cut would be $275 million, but would require voter approval.

“The Governor is holding part of the solution hostage by demanding unrelated policy changes for economic stimulus. If he was really focused on stimulating the economy, he would not be proposing these severe cuts at exactly the time when Californians need the care, and the economy needs the spending.” said Wright. “Calfornia have already made $16 billion in cuts to health, education, and other vital services; it is time for a shared solution that includes taxes and revenues at a level needed to prevent even steeper cuts.”

Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, has a quick one-sheet detailing the health cuts proposed by the Governor, along with estimates of the numlber of Californians impacted, on our website:
http://www.health-access.org/advocating/docs/MidyearCuts1204308.pdf

More analysis is on the Health Access daily blog, at:
http://www.health-access.org/blogger.html

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