St. Valentine’s Day massacre…

It’s late on a Saturday night, and the Legislature is in session, moving on a budget deal.

There is no budget language to be had for the public, so we can’t do any specific analysis that we usually offer.

The only public document about the deal as a whole is an Assembly floor summary, available here:
http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/newcomframeset.asp?committee=4

For health care, the biggest impact is the spending cap, which would force cuts into the future. And don’t forget the permanent tax cuts and giveaways that will create budget pressure in future years, especially after the temporary increases expire.

But let’s not forget the health care cuts being voted for tonight. They include:

* $24.7 million cut to counties from suspending the 2009 Medi-Cal Administration cost of doing business increase

* $183.6 million, depending on the federal economic recovery funds California gets, from both
* a 10% cut to public hospital reimbursement rates (Safety Net Care Pool), and
* eliminating the following Medi-Cal benefits
* Adult dental
* Acupuncture services
* Audiology Services and speech therapy services
* Chiropractic services
* Optometric and optician services, including services provided by a fabricating optical lab
* Podiatric services
* Psychology services
* Incontinence creams and washes

The public hospital and Medi-Cal benefit cuts would be part of a package that would be “triggered off” if Calfornia get enough federal funds from the economic recovery package. Health Access has a fact sheet on the financial and health impacts if these benefits are cut.

Will we get enough federal funds? We haven’t seen the trigger language, but the rough guess is that we would need at least $9.1 billion in general fund money–many people assume that’s the case, but we understand the final decision maker is Director of Finance Mike Genest by April 1st. It would not be a funny April Fool’s joke.

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

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