Health Cuts in Governor's New Year's Budget

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In all, the Governor’s plan calls for more than a billion dollars to be chopped from health and human services funding in the next fiscal year that begins in July.    
“What you see in this budget is kind of going through and making difficult cuts but protect some of those most vital services.” 
Lisa Mangat with the state Department of Finance says with such a huge deficit to close, cuts like these are the only way to balance the budget. But under the plan, about two and a half million low-income adults on the public health program Medi-Cal would lose dental, vision and psychological benefits and about half a million parents who make more than $13,000 a year would not qualify for coverage in the next few years.

Patient advocates say the reductions would hurt California’s most vulnerable people. Anthony Wright is with Health Access California.   
“We’d have millions of Californians lose key benefits or have to pay significantly more to get basic health services and we would significantly undermine the health system that we rely on.” 
The governor also wants to shift money earmarked for specific programs to help make up the shortfall. One is dealing with the state’s First 5 commission for early childhood development programs – the other, dedicated funds for mental health programs. But that would require voter approval first.