KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Gov. Brown’s Revised Budget Includes Substantial Medi-Cal Cuts

The ballooning budget deficit in California might mean hospitals and nursing homes will get less state money.

Reuters: California Targets Health, Public Workers To Fix Budget Hole
California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday unveiled a revised state budget plan that calls for new cuts to healthcare for the poor and elderly and reduced work hours for state employees as part of an effort to close a $15.7 billion budget gap (Christie, 5/14).

The Associated Press: California Gov. Jerry Brown Urges Austere Cuts, Tax Hikes To Tackle Reemerging Deficit
Brown said California's sputtering economic recovery is putting a heavier-than-expected drag on state tax revenue. The state has been blocked from making cuts to Medi-Cal and In-Home Supportive Services in court and by federal requirements. The revised budget deficit is $6.5 billion more than the $9.2 billion gap Brown anticipated in January (5/15).

Sacramento Bee: Optimistic Projections Led To Dramatic Surge In California Budget Deficit
[T]he state budget deficit had grown by a remarkable 70 percent since January, but fiscal experts said the economy had little to do with it. They instead blamed a bad marriage of volatile capital gains and political intransigence that led state leaders last year to count on a huge upswing in revenues that never materialized. At the same time, corporate tax changes from 2009 appear to have cost California more than state officials ever realized (Yamamura, 5/15).

San Jose Mercury News: Gov. Jerry Brown Slashes Programs For The Poor, Threatens To Do The Same To Schools
Brown also proposed cuts to hospitals and nursing homes to reduce Medi-Cal costs ... reducing state workers' pay by 5 percent through contract renegotiations; and using assets that used to belong to local redevelopment agencies (Harmon, Richman, Noguchi and de Sa, 5/14).

KQED: Brown's New Budget Cuts Would Hit Health Programs
Many of Governor Brown’s previous attempts to cut back on health care spending in the Golden State have been stymied by lawsuits or federal agencies that deemed the cuts too severe (Varney, 5/14). 

KQED's State of Health blog: Governor's New Budget Slices -- Again -- Into Health Care
In a conference call with reporters today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana Dooley said the cuts to her agency were inevitable. "The problem we have and always have in health and human services is this is where most of the spending is. The spending is in education and health and human services to a very large degree, and the only place you can cut back are the places where you are spending" (Aliferis, 5/14). 

California Healthline: May Budget Revise Hits Health Care Hard
Those proposals include: Reducing supplemental payments to private hospitals, along with elimination of public hospital grants and stopping increases to managed care plans for some supplemental public hospital payments. Taking back the 2.4 percent rate increase to nursing homes (Gorn, 5/15).

California Watch: Advocates Fear Patient Care Will Suffer Under State Budget Cuts
The revised budget poses a new set of challenges to care providers and patient advocates. Last week, groups representing doctors, nurses and nursing home residents decried a comparatively minor budget change that would have cut the mandate for hospital and nursing home inspectors to perform unannounced inspections to monitor compliance with state laws (Jewett, 5/15). 

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