KHN Morning Briefing

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Calif. Gov.’s Budget Would Raise Medi-Cal Spending, Seeks Compromise On Insurer Tax

In the $122.6 billion budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown offers more funds for the program that provides health coverage to low-income residents, but he says an extension of the current tax on health insurers is necessary to help pay for the program.

The Associated Press: Calif. Budget Plan Boosts Spending But Democrats Seek More
On its face, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $122.6 billion California budget plan would seem to please Democratic interests by pumping billions of new dollars into public schools, health care for the poor and public infrastructure, even as it bolsters the state’s rainy day fund. ... Brown’s proposal includes a $1.1 billion compromise on a new tax on health insurers to replace one expiring in June. Brown said the tax is critical to maintaining the state health care program for the poor, Medi-Cal, which is projected to cover 13.5 million people by 2017, nearly a third of the state’s population. Republicans whose votes are needed signaled opposition. (Thompson and Williams, 1/8)

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown's Budget Helps Schools And The Poor -- And Saves A Lot For A Rainy Day
In the areas where the governor’s new budget really opens up the state’s checkbook, it’s largely to dole out dollars linked to decisions made years, even decades, earlier. That would be an additional $1.4-billion more for the Medi-Cal program that provides healthcare for low-income Californians to cover expansion sparked by the Affordable Care Act; $3.1-billion in proceeds from the sale of greenhouse gas pollution credits; and $8 billion in mandatory payments to the pension funds of government workers and teachers. (Myers, Mason and Mai-Duc, 1/7)

The San Jose Mercury News: California Gov. Jerry Brown's Budget At A Glance
Health care advocates had hoped the projected budget surplus meant there was enough to restore cuts made in the depths of the recession, including those to public health programs, Medi-Cal health benefits and Medi-Cal provider reimbursement fees. But as they have come to learn, Brown is reluctant to include any additional investments or restorations in his budgets. (Murphy, Rogers, Mintz, Richards, de Sa and Seipel, 1/7)

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