The Anti-Jobs, Anti-Healthcare Speech…

Governor Schwarzenegger’s State of the State speech today was anti-jobs and anti-healthcare.

The most effective way to create jobs is invest in Californians, and in their health and in services to help all of us get through a tough time. The investment’s impact would be multiplied because of federal matching funds, further helping our economic recovery.

Yet the Governor proposed tax cuts and credits that would force even deeper reductions in health and human services, resulting in not just more lost jobs but also lost federal matching funds needed for our economy. And the Governor opposed a healthreform that would actually provide significantly more money for California families, our health system, and our economy.

THE FACTS ABOUT HEALTH REFORM: The pending health reforms in Congress would provide billions of dollars in new and necessary help to California families and small businesses struggling to afford their premiums. As a state with a high uninsured rate and large population of lower-wage workers, California will likely disproportionately benefit.

Health reform would also expand Medicaid for 1.5 million low-income uninsured Californians in 2013 or 2014, with the federal government picking up the full cost of that expansion for the first several years. Only eight years from now–two Governors from now–would there be any additional cost to the state of California, and those dollars will be matched at more than a 4:1 rate.

For California, health reform is a benefit, not a burden–and its a bargain to boot. Any additional costs are minimal and don’t even take effect until eight or nine years from now, and would be offset by savings in other areas. And in return for such investments, our state would cover over 1.5 million more low-income Californians through Medi-Cal, with the federal government picking up over 80% of the tab–a better match than our current programs now.

The Governor’s hypocrisy on health reform is stunning. Two years ago, the Governor was willing to raise the revenues needed to expand Medicaid to cover the same population–with the federal government contributing 50% of the cost. Now, the Governor opposes the same expansion when the federal government is offering well over 80% of the cost.

In the health reform bill, some states do better than California, some do worse. We support additional federal assistance for California, but the way to argue for more money is not to misrepresent the bill. And the best way to get more money from our health care system, and our economy, is to make the health care investments now that will bring in the federal money that is already sitting there with our name on it–and prevent the cuts that make us lose even more jobs and federal funds.

Health Access refutes the Governor’s numbers about the fiscal impacts of health reform on California, which are based on faulty assumptions. Health Access recently published an analysis of the cost of implementing national health reform in California, which show the dramatically different estimates than what the Governor has stating. The cost to CA in the year 2019 ranges from a savings of almost $200 million under the House bill with moderate take-up rates to costs of about $800 million under the Senate bill with high take-up.

The Governor’s estimate of $3 billion assumes that outpatient Medi-Cal provider rates would be 80% of Medicare and that 100% of those eligible for Medi-Cal would enroll. While Health Access supports Medi-Cal provide rate insurances, federal health reform does not require Medi-Cal provider rates to be 80% of Medicare. Health Access supports maximizing enrollment in Medi-Cal but CBO assumes that only half of those eligible will enroll. The Governor also ignores the fact that for the first several years, the federal government will pick up 100% of the cost of newly eligible populations.

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