California Official Details Proposed Health Care Cuts in Schwarzenegger’s Budget Plan
California Department of Finance Chief Deputy Director Ana Matosantos on Tuesday discussed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) plans to address the state budget deficit in part by cutting Medi-Cal spending and eliminating Healthy Families, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families is the state's version of CHIP. Matosantos spoke at a Joint Legislative Budget Committee hearing (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 5/27).
The suggested cuts to health care programs are part of the governor's proposal to address the state's projected $24.3 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2009-2010 (Wiegand, Sacramento Bee, 5/23). Schwarzenegger last week outlined two budget proposals to address the state's budget problems. One of the proposals addressed the situation if California voters approved a set of special ballot measures intended to provide funds for FY 2009-2010 (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 5/18). However, voters last week rejected five of the six measures on the May 19 statewide ballot, including three propositions that would have let the state use special accounts for mental health services and early childhood education (Yi/Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20). The state would have faced a $15.4 billion budget deficit if voters had approved the measures (Ellis/Schultz, Fresno Bee, 5/20).
Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders were scheduled to begin closed door budget negotiations on Tuesday, and a small group of state senators and Assembly members will hold a series of public sessions on the budget on Wednesday (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 5/20). Democrats scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to announce their timeline for passing a budget, and Republicans also are set to release their plans for advancing a budget agreement.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California will not have sufficient cash on hand to make some payments by late summer if a budget agreement is not reached quickly (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20).