The House and Senate yesterday passed the economic recovery package, which includes several key health provisions. It is now headed to President Obama’s desk, where he expects to sign it on Monday.

A lot has been made of the margin which it passed, and I do find it remarkable that California Congressional Representatives, those who were Republican, decided to oppose a package that included both tax cuts and significant and desperately needed aid to California.

The budget being discussed in the state Capitol does take into account these funds, with much of the money already accounted for to plug the hole in the deficit, and depending on how much the state gets, with triggers to offset some cuts in health and other programs.

On health care, we understand that the Medi-Cal cuts on the “trigger” list are:
* elimination of around nine benefits for the three millions adults on the Medi-Cal program, including dental, optometry, podiatry, and psychology.
* a 10% cut in reimbursements to public hospitals.

Hopefully it is enough money. One health care cut in the budget proposal that will be made even with the billions in health care dollars coming to California is a $24 million cut to counties in their administration of the Medi-Cal program. The likely result is that there will be fewer social workers able to enroll Californians in Medi-Cal coverage.

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