Eliminate Healthy Families?

Wow. Could California eliminate the Healthy Families program, and coverage for nearly 1 million children along with it? Could we be the only state in the nation that doesn’t cover these low-income kids, and turns away significant federal money?

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement on his budget proposal: “Based upon information I gathered in meetings I held while in Washington D.C., discussions with the legislative leaders, and the will of the people who said loudly and clearly in Tuesday’s election that they want Sacramento to live within its means, yesterday I directed my Department of Finance to bring me additional options to cut state spending so that we can eliminate the need to seek borrowing in the form of a revenue anticipation warrant in the revised state budget I have proposed.”

But it was Ana Matosantos, deputy director of Finance, who revealed in testimony to the Budget Conference Committee today that the Governor was proposing stark cuts, including the full elimination of Healthy Familes, CALWORKS, Cal grants, and state support of parks.

The proposals are irrational, belligerent, and reckless. With the federal government paying two-thirds of the cost, Healthy Families provides one of the best bangs for the buck in all of state government. We would turn away two federal dollars for every dollar we cut. The proposal is not just beyond draconian, it’s beyond belief–if the budget crisis were not so severe and the Governor were not so mercurial.

By suggesting this as part of a cuts-only budget approach, the Governor has betrayed every commitment he has made to children or to health care. The voters explicitly rejected additional cuts to children and health services on Tuesday–indeed, those propositions got the lowest vote totals of all the measures. The Governor should not take his anger out on the children of California.

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

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