Budget Committee moves on — tomorrow last day.

Just minutes ago, the six-person Budget Conference Committee approved premium increases in Healthy Families. The increases approved are dramatically smaller than what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger originally proposed.

In his budget, Schwarzenegger proposed a $7 per child increase for families earning 151% – 200% of the poverty level. The new version increases premiums by just $3 for this group, meaning the new rates would be $12 per child.

For families earning between 201% to 250% of the poverty level, rates would be increased by $4. The version approved today would increase rates by $2, which means rates would be $17 per child.

Under the governor’s plan, it was estimated that about 60,000 children would become uninsured due to the increased costs. It’s unclear what impact these smaller increases would have. These changes to the governor’s budget are — as with everything the Legislature has so far approved — contingent upon new revenues.

The budget committee should be wrapping up conference tomorrow, it sounds like. Health advocates have one more issue on the table — Semi-Annual Status Reports.

Today, they approved county administration for Medi-Cal processing *at current caseload levels*. This is key.

If they approve Semi-Annual Status Reporting, it means more administrative work for counties. But they didn’t approve increased funding at that level. So….the people who are trying to submit their semi-annual status reports won’t have their paperwork processed fast enough to stay on Medi-Cal because there’s not enough county staff to do it. Eventually, more people will fall off — and ironically — right after the committee just approved funding for doctors so they can continue to take on patients.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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