A cuts-only budget harm knows no party…

The California Budget Project has an excellent resource on its website, showing the local impact of proposed budget cuts by county and by legislative district.

The county numbers are interesting, but you need to know the context of how big/small the counties are to begin with. (Alpine County has only 160 Medi-Cal recipients, and 2 children on Healthy Families; Los Angeles has 2.2 million on Medi-Cal, 250,000 kids on Healthy Families).

The legislative districts numbers are interesting because they are more comparable, having similar (although not the same) numbers in each district.

TOP FIVE DISTRICTS IMPACTED BY MEDI-CAL RATE CUTS: Five Senators have more than a quarter of a million constituents on Medi-Cal coverage–largely children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities–who would lose access to key doctors and hospitals as a result of the proposed Medi-Cal provider rate cuts already adopted. These Senators would have hospitals and doctors in their districts lose over $50 million dollars in Medi-Cal funds.

These five (of 40 total) Senators are:
1) Florez (D-Fresno/Bakersfield): 306,820 on Medi-Cal; $62 million lost funding
2) Vincent (D-Los Angeles): 290, 260 on Medi-Cal; $59 million lost funding
3) Cedillo (D-Los Angeles): 278,180 on Medi-Cal; $56 million lost funding
4) Cogdill (R-Fresno/Ripon): 270,320 on Medi-Cal; $55 million lost funding
5) Ashburn (R-Bakersfield): 253,190 on Medi-Cal; $51 million lost funding

What’s interesting about the list is the diversity. We have some districts from inner-city Los Angeles, but also the rural areas of the Central Valley. These districts are represented by Latino, African-American, and white legislators. And they are three Democrats and two Republicans: these budget cuts impact Republican and Democratic areas alike.

While California Republican legislators insist on a cuts-only budget, there are certainly many whose communities will be severely hurt by such a resolution to this budget crisis.

Republican Senators Denham and Runner also have lots of impacted constituents, with over 200,000 people on Medi-Cal in their districts. Of the eighteen (out of 80) Assemblymembers with more than 110,000 constituents with Medi-Cal coverage, eight are Republicans, including La Malfa, Aghazarian, Villines, Fuller, Maze, Runner, Adams, and Garcia.

TOP TEN DISTRICTS ON CHILDREN LOSING COVERAGE: So, as a result of the proposal to increase paperwork and administration burdens on Medi-Cal, here would be the top ten legislative districts that have the biggest number of children fall off coverage by 2010 and become uninsured: Florez (14,420); Vincent (14, 300); Cedillo (14,150); Calderon (11,760); Romero (11, 640); Cogdill (11,570); Ridley-Thomas (10,820); Ashburn (10,510); Padilla (10,490); Correa: (10,280). Again, a diverse crew in region, ethnicity, party, and ideology.

Unlike the other 3/4 of the Senate, these legislators each have over 10,000 children losing coverage as a result of the so-called “quarterly status reports.” Sens. Denham and Battin also have high number of impacted children as well; in the Assembly, the list includes Berryhill, Aghazarian, Villines, Maze, Runner, and Garcia, who would have over 2,500 children lose coverage.

MAY REVISE AND BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS APPROACH. The California Budget Project has similar numbers for education, child care, and other programs. I haven’t looked closely at those reports, but I imagine that my takeaway would still hold:

The budget crisis knows no bounds. Californians in both “red” and “blue” areas will get hit in a big way, whether cuts to schools, to child care, or to health care–where thousands and thousands of children and adults will have reduced access to doctors and hospitals, if not lose coverage altogether.

We need to come together to find an alternative to a cuts-only budget that would force such cuts.

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

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