HEALTH ACCESS ALERT
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2002
GOVERNOR WEIGHS BUDGET OPTIONS
Some Health Items Hang In Balance
It is expected that on Thursday, September 5th, Governor Davis will sign the state budget that was passed by the Legislature over the weekend. With that signature, he is expected to veto some of the spending items, and make specific spending reductions in other areas. After the budget signing, he is expected to make additional spending reductions in state operations, given the budget agreement and future projected deficits.
See the updated budget cuts scorecard at http://www.health-access.org/scorecard.htm that shows how health care services have fared in the passed budget, and what the Governor’s options are with specific spending items. On items like Medi-Cal benefits, eligibility standards, and reporting requirements, the Governor cannot make changes without legislative approval, and in many cases, the legislature decided not to make the proposed cuts.
However, there are a several items where the Governor is allowed–and in some cases, expected–to make reductions or full item vetoes. If your organization has the ability to advocate in the immediate future, the following are the health care items that may be in danger and should be preserved:
* The fall rollout and implementation of the Healthy Families expansion, to eventually cover 300,000 low-income working parents.
* The initial start of the “express lane” effort to use school lunch programs to get more children enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
* The financial support for county administration, including those workers that help enroll families in Medi-Cal health coverage.
* The funding for the state’s financially-strapped trauma centers, as well as for community clinics, public hospitals, and other safety-net institutions.
* The resources for state government operations, including public health initiatives and other key programs.
* The partial restorations of provider rates, so that families who get Medi-Cal have the ability to see the doctor or specialist in their area.
Letters to the Governor’s office [The Honorable Gray Davis, Governor, The State of California, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814] can be faxed to 916-445-4633, although time is extremely limited.
Anthony E. Wright
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921