Reports of a budget deal, and $15 billion in cuts, are not a time for celebration. Certainly not when the cuts include severe cuts to health care, including coverage for children.
The cuts to Healthy Families, for example, go well beyond the $90 million cut decided by the Budget Conference Committee. The New York Times suggests it will be a $144 million cut, $53 million more than the previous cut.
California has better choices than to deny coverage to hundreds of thousands of children, or to make these devastating cuts to the health system on which we all rely. While there were no good choices in this budget crisis, these were the worst possible choices for our children, for our health system, and for our economy.
Millions of Californians will live sicker and die younger as a result of these cuts. These budget cuts reflects choices, and it is sad that our policymakers chose to cut off millions of Californians from basic care, rather than finding the revenues needed to maintain these needed services. It should be shocking that our policymakers are making the choice to deny coverage to hundreds of thousands of children, and the only debate was how many.”
These cuts are magnified because of the hundreds of millions in lost federal matching funds we need for an economic recovery. These cuts will not just directly impact hundreds of thousands of children and many of California’s most vulnerable, but they will ripple through the health care system and impact all Californians as a result. The agreement of a budget like this is not a cause of celebration, but of embarrassment and shame for California.