Steve Lawrence at the Associated Press writes about the new, troubling unemployment numbers released yeaterday. There was an attempt to make a connection with the budget, but some legislators came to the wrong conclusion.
Republicans said the jobless figures provided more evidence that lawmakers shouldn’t consider tax increases to help eliminate a $15.2 billion state budget deficit.
“Our unemployment rate will grow far worse and more Californians will lose their jobs if we pass a budget that increases taxes,” said Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines, R-Clovis.
But health care advocates said state budget cuts would also lead to more job losses, partly because the state would be unable to put up seed money needed to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. “The worst thing you can do for the economy is make cuts, especially to health care,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Health Access California. “I think it’s very clear that health care cuts specifically would have three times as great an economic impact as an increase of taxes on the upper income.”
That’s the conclusion of the two studies Health Access released yesterday, as evidenced by headlines like “Health Care Cuts May Hurt Economy” in the Stockton Record, and “Medi-Cal Cuts Hurt Everyone, Not Just the Poor, Study Says” in the Bakerfield Californian.
The Bakersfield Californian also has a quote from a Republican Senator, one we wholeheartedly agree with.
“Reductions in Medi-Cal causes increases in costs in other places,” said Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, who wants the 10 percent cuts restored in the budget. “The fact is that the state underfunds the program.”
By raising the revenues needed to prevent cuts to health care, legislators can BOTH restore crucial funding to our health care system, and help stimulate our economy.
The two reports, “Adverse Reaction: Proposed Health Budget Cuts Would Lead to Increased Health Insurance Premiums” and “Significant Side Effects: The Economic Impacts of Health Care Cuts in California Communities” are available on the front page of the Health Access website.