The Governor announced his anticipated $703 million in line-item budget cuts today, thus ending the sordid budget story. $527 million were cuts to Health and Human Services.
Making cuts to health care is not a good way to start negotiations on health reform.
The Governor’s $700 million in line-item veto cuts undermines many of the health care goals that he highlighted and campaigned on just last year.
It also includes our priorities–Health Access California was a co-sponsor, with a broad coalition of senior, consumer, labor, and community groups, of the legislation that established the California Prescription Drug Discount Program, whose implementation is zeroed out in the proposal. The establishment of a prescription drug cost comparison website was also zeroed out.
The line-item veto also includes the zeroing out of implementation of last year’s SB437, which would streamline eligibility and enrollment for children’s coverage in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, and would have resulted in more children having health insurance in this budget year.
Other cuts include $10 million from community clinics, out of the “Expanded Access to Primary Care” (EAPC) funds.
Both the prescription drug and children’s coverage bills got high-profile signing ceremonies by the Governor last year. Both will now be delayed for another year.
Care delayed is care denied, and because of these cuts, fewer children will be covered, fewer patients will be seen at clinics, and fewer seniors and uninsured will be able to get needed drug discounts.