HEALTH ACCESS ALERT

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PASS REAL BUDGET REFORM NOW?

* Vote YES on Proposition 56!

* Summary of Provisions

* Why Health Care Consumers & Advocates Should Support Prop 56

* Actions Needed to Help Pass the Budget Accountability Act on March 2nd!

* Letters to the Editor

* Phone Banking and Precinct Walking

* Tell Your Friends, Family, and Neighbors

As a way to encourage timely and responsible budgets, Health Access

California, and many other health advocacy organizations have joined with

the League of Women Voters, AARP, California State PTA, California Council

of Churches, and over 100 other organizations in support of Proposition 56.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS

Proposition 56 (THE BUDGET ACCOUNTABILITY ACT) will:

• HOLD LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE

Legislators won’t get paid their salary, per diem expense and car allowance

for each day the budget isn’t passed – if they don’t do their job, they won’

t be paid. The Legislature hasn’t met their constitutional deadline since

1986!

• FORCE LEGISLATIVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BUDGET

Requires the Legislature to stay in session–-until they pass the budget.

Passing a responsible budget on time is the Legislature’s most important

job.

• REFORM THE BUDGET PROCESS AND ENDS GRIDLOCK

Changes the vote required to adopt the state budget and related tax

legislation from 2/3 to 55%. Currently, Rhode Island and Arkansas are the

only other states to routinely require a vote of 2/3 or more to pass a

budget and the federal budget is passed by just a simple majority. The 55%

required by Prop 56 will require broad approval consensus and will help

break the gridlock we face today.

• GIVE VOTERS THE FACTS THEY NEED ON THE BUDGET

Gives voters better access to their legislators’ votes on the budget and

taxes. Prop 56 requires the official ballot handbook to disclose how tax

dollars are spent and if taxes are raised along with a website where voters

can find out how their legislators voted on the budget and tax bills.

• REQUIRE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

To curb deficit spending, Prop 56 requires the Legislature to set aside a

mandatory reserve fund of at least 5%, so that extreme budget cuts and tax

increases will be less likely in a weak economy.

• MAINTAIN ALL OF PROP 13’S PROPERTY TAX PROTECTIONS

WHY SHOULD HEALTH ADVOCATES SUPPORT PROPOSITION 56?

Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy

coalition, is one of several dozen organizations that strongly support this

reform of budget process. Why are health advocates making the passage of the

Budget Accountability Act a high priority?

* LATE BUDGETS HURT REAL PEOPLE: When the budget is late, many health care

providers don’t get paid, from community clinics to independent living

centers. Seniors, people with disabilities, and families that rely on these

providers face the uncertainty of having services suspended and cut off. In

the extreme, some providers, many of which are small nonprofits that depend

on regular revenue streams, face being shut down. Proposition 56 would allow

the legislators to understand the urgent need for timely passage of the

budget, and would force them to focus on that goal.

* DECISIONS DELAYED MEANS CRUELER CUTS: The proposed health care cuts in the

current budget crisis are devastating: steep cuts to community clinics and

hospitals, hundreds of thousands denied basic health coverage, and millions

more losing access to key services. The current legislative gridlock

prevented early action a year or two ago, and has made the potential

solution even more severe. With Proposition 56, if legislators make budget

decisions that impact our health care, they will be more accountable for

those decisions.

* HEALTH NEEDS GROW AT THE SAME TIME THE BUDGET SHRINKS: Economic recessions

shrink the budget as well as cause California families to rely more on

public sources of health care. The number of uninsured families increases,

causing greater enrollment in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families and greater use

of community clinics and hospitals. Without a “rainy day” fund, we will

continue to seek cuts to the health care system at exactly the time when it

is needed most.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT PROPOSITION 56?

With a week-and-a-half to go, supporters of the Budget Accountability Act

need to be active to get their friends, family, and neighbors to vote YES on

Prop 56! Here are three suggestions. More are at http://www.yeson56.org.

* LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

* WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER: There’s still time to submit a quick letter to

your local newspaper in support of Proposition 56. Use the points above, or

make your own, to indicate why you support the Budget Accountability Act.

You can respond to an article in the paper about the budget, or just start

by saying “I am sick and tired of late and irresponsible state budgets, I

support Proposition 56….” PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR BEFORE

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH. The letters to the editor page is often the

most-read part of the newspaper.

* GET OTHERS TO WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

* PHONE BANKING AND PRECINCT WALKING:

PRECINCT WALKING: Have a weekend day to help out, and take a nice stroll in

your area? Precinct-walking typically takes place on Saturdays and in some

cases Sundays, and is a fun way to get out and about and distribute

information about Proposition 56.

PHONE BANKS: Organizations around the state are hosting phone banks, and

welcome anybody that wants to join them! Groups typically have phone banks

going on in the early evenings (from 5:30pm or 6pm until 8pm or 9pm) on

Monday through Thursday, although some locations have a couple of nights or

even include Sunday.

GET OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE: Help get your organization’s members to

participate.

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THESE LOCATIONS FOR PHONE BANKING AND PRECINCT

WALKING:

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles): Call Ericka Smith, 213-368-8609

CONTA COSTA (Martinez, Pittsburg): Call 925-261-0225 or 925-228-0161

MONTEREY BAY (Castroville, Monterey): Call Steve Gonzales 831-840-5947

SANTA CRUZ (Santa Cruz, Watsonville): Call Lyndsay Butler 831-840-4373

SAN FRANCISCO (San Francisco): Call John Kosinski at 415-503-5747

SANTA CLARA (San Jose): Call 408-266-3790

SACRAMENTO (Sacramento): Call Martha Phillips 916-442-3838 or 916-927-9772

ALAMEDA (Oakland): Call 510-869-2253

(Fremont): Call 510-744-4340

(Hayward): Call 510-632-4242

Other Northern California locations: Tai Milder, 207-650-0710

Other Southern California locations: Tracy Zeluff 213-738-8408

TELL YOUR FRIENDS:

* HAVE YOUR ORGANIZATION SEND OUT INFORMATIONAL MATERIAL ON PROPOSITION 56

to its members.

* TELL YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBORS about why passing Proposition 56

is so important.

* SEND A QUICK E-MAIL TO FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES to let them know you are

planning to vote for Proposition 56. You can include this E-mail alert, or

link to the campaign website, at http://www.yeson56.org.



Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access California

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

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