HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Monday, March 15th, 2004

* Federal Budget Update: Senate Actions; Medicaid Cuts Threatened in House

* Anti-SB2 Campaign Fined $25K for 10 Counts of Disclosure Law Violations

* Updated Calendar of Health and Budget Events (http://www.health-access.org/calendar.htm)

FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE: MEDICAID CUTS THREATENED

GOOD VOTE IN THE SENATE: In a victory for national health care advocates

last week, the Senate voted to NOT require severe Medicaid cuts over the

next several years. Several Republican Senators joined the Democratic caucus

in voting for an amendment by Senator Baucus to take the section requiring

cuts out of the main budget resolution by Senator Nickles. (An attempt by

Senator Rockefeller to include an extension of federal assistance to states

through continued enhanced Medicaid matching funds was not pursued at this

time, but will be made later as the budget process continues.)

BAD VOTE UPCOMING IN THE HOUSE: The House of Representatives is now

considering their budget resolution, and once again, there is a significant

threat to Medicaid. The House Budget Committee plans to complete meet its

work by this Wednesday, March 17th, and have the full House consider the

resolution the week after.

The House budget resolution will require at least $2 billion in Medicaid

cuts, as well as caps on discretionary spending (such as education and other

health programs). It would also include budget rules that are likely to make

it easier to make all the President’s tax cuts permanent, placing further

pressure to cut health programs. A full analysis of the House budget, and

all its problems, is available by the Center for Budget and Policy

Priorities at http://www.cbpp.org/3-12-04bud.htm.

Already, 29 House Republicans have signed a letter opposing cuts to

Medicaid, including California Congressmen George Radanovich of Fresno, Ed

Royce of Fullerton, and Randy “Duke” Cunningham of Escondido. The letter

states, in part “As the Budget Committee prepares the House budget

resolution we are troubled by proposals that could weaken coverage and

access to services for millions of Americans, including our nation’s seniors

and disabled, by making reductions to the Medicaid program…. The state and

federal governments have ensured that more than 50 million people have

access to health care services through the Medicaid program. This includes

25 million children – more than one in four in the U.S… Proposing

reductions without ensuring the preservation of coverage for those in need

simply transfers the burden to states. We urge the Budget Committee to

refrain from proposing cuts to Medicaid spending. Any cuts would add

millions to the ranks of the uninsured at a time when Congress is working to

reduce those ranks.”

ACTION: Please call your Congressional representatives to tell them, as part

of the budget resolution:

1. Oppose the caps on discretionary programs.

2. Oppose making the president’s tax cuts permanent.

3. Oppose provisions that force cuts to Medicaid.

All Representatives should be contacted. National advocates have

specifically asked for calls and faxes to go to California Representatives

Mary Bono of Palm Springs, Jerry Lewis of Redlands, and Doug Ose of

Sacramento. Also, thanks should go to Radanovich, Royce, and Cunningham for

signing the Medicaid letter.

ANTI-SB 2 CAMPAIGN FINED FOR DISCLOSURE VIOLATIONS

This morning, Monday, March 15th, the California Fair Political Practices

Commission (FPPC) imposed an administrative penalty of $25,000 on the

campaign seeking to repeal SB 2, the bill to protect and expand

employer-based health coverage for millions of Californians. The campaign

was found on 10 counts of failing to report contributions totalling over $1

million, from companies including Nordstrom’s, Target, Sears, and Yum!

Brands

(owner of KFC and Taco Bell).

By disclosing their contributions two months late, these large corporations

didn’t seem enthusiastic to let the public know about their work to repeal

this law protecting health coverage for workers. Advocates for SB 2 will

make sure the public knows who the employers are who seek to scale back

health coverage or drop it altogether, not only for their workers, but their

customers as well.



Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access

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.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: