Among a series of budget cuts to help California Gov. Jerry Brown close that state's budget deficit is a cut to a health care program for 880,000 low-income kids, who will be shifted to Medi-Cal after the state shutters its "Healthy Families" program.
The Associated Press: California's Budget Deal Cuts Welfare, Health Care
California will close its projected $15.7 billion budget deficit by restructuring the state's welfare program, streamlining health insurance for low-income children, and reducing child care coverage and college aid, as part of a deal Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders announced Thursday. The governor and lawmakers provided only broad outlines of the cuts and few hard dollar figures, but Brown said the deal met his demand for permanent welfare reform and is enough that he now is willing to sign the main budget bill Democratic legislators sent him last week (Lin, 6/22).
Los Angeles Times: Key Provisions Of The State Budget Agreement
Spending on welfare, child care, home care, Medi-Cal, prisons, courts and state employees would be reduced. For now, education is relatively untouched (6/21).
Bay Area News Group/San Jose Mercury: Democrats, Gov. Jerry Brown Arrive At California Budget Deal
Setting the stage for a tough campaign to raise taxes, Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday announced a budget deal with "more difficult cuts," squeezing another $1 billion from the state's safety-net for the poor. Most welfare-to-work recipients will get cut off state assistance after two years -- instead of four -- if they are not meeting tough federal work requirements. And the state will eliminate the Healthy Families medical program that serves low-income children. Instead, nearly 1 million youths will be shifted over the next three years to Medi-Cal to help close a $15.7 billion deficit and eliminate future shortfalls with the permanent changes to safety-net programs (Harmon, 6/21).
Sacramento Bee: Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic Leaders Agree On Welfare Changes In California Budget
One of the deal's biggest surprises was that Democrats agreed to shift all 880,000 lower-income children in the Healthy Families program to Medi-Cal. Healthy Families serves otherwise uninsured children whose parents earn above the federal threshold for poverty. Children's advocates consider Healthy Families a higher quality program, in part because it pays providers better rates. Democrats last week agreed to shift only 187,000 children barely above poverty to Medi-Cal because the federal health care overhaul requires them to move by 2014. But Brown wanted to dissolve Healthy Families and move the entire population to Medi-Cal. The governor argued that it would be more efficient to serve all children in one program. Most health care advocates voiced opposition because they said the change would reduce access for Healthy Families children and force many to leave their current pediatricians (Yamamura, 6/22).