This time it counts…

Like the MLB All-Star Game that just ended in my hometown Bronx, the California budget game is into extra innings. Senator Cogdill suggested an agreement might happen before the beginning of August, according to the Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert.

Maybe it could be called the Late-Summer Classic.

But the Senator continued to be opposed to tax increases to prevent cuts in his statements to the Sacramento Press Club. Does he recognize what that would mean? In health care alone, that means:
* major cuts to hospitals and health providers, hitting hardest in rural areas like his own district;
* cuts to benefits to millions of parents, seniors, and people with disabilities on Medi-Cal; and
* over one million more Californians uninsured, all as a result of the budget cuts.

Even with the Legislature’s current compromise budget voted out by the Budget Conference Committee, which include over $8 billion in revenues used to reject or restore the cuts, there are major cuts, most particularly a major whack to children’s coverage, denying coverage to over a quarter-of-a-million children.
* imposing paperwork and administrative burdens, requiring children’s families to report every six months or lose coverage, with the intent and expectation of over 250,000 children losing coverage by 2011;
* increasing Healthy Families premiums, which will have an impact on lowering enrollment of children in these low-income families by tens of thousands; and
* suspending streamlining reforms passed in 2006 to better enroll tens of thousands of eligible but unenrolled children.

So, that’s the choice. The “compromise” budget doesn’t have many of the gimmicks, which have either been used up in previous years or rejected (such as borrowing against future lottery earnings). It does have ugly cuts, including on health care with the semi-annual reporting, at least one cut too deep.

But the alternative, with the cuts required without taxes and revenues, is unthinkable.

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