Governor Proposes Balanced Budget
A balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year was projected by Governor Brown on Thursday when he released his proposed budget plan. The big budget news is increased spending on k-12 schools. We want to focus on two areas we feel will have the most impact on the people that rely on the Food Bank.
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program.
CalWORKS provides cash assistance for 1.1 million low-income children as their parents find jobs. Significant cuts have been made to this program over the recent years including reducing General Fund spending on CalWORKS by $469 million in the current fiscal year. In the governor’s proposal, there is an increase of $142.8 million in state support for CalWORKS. This is to support counties as that implement programmatic changes. Otherwise the proposed budget maintains the curs that were made without reducing spending further.
California’s version of Medicaid is called Medi-Cal and is a health coverage program serving approximately 8 million low-income children, parents, seniors and people with disabilities. Several cuts have been made to this program in recent years as well.
Governor Brown proposes two options for implementing the Medi-Cal expansion envisioned by the federal health care reform:
- A state-based approach that would build upon the existing state-administered program and a managed care delivery system, or
- a county-based approach that builds on the existing Low Income Health Program with the counties being the lead for the expansion.
Other proposals to Medi-Cal include:
- Extend a current fee on hospitals that is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2013, resulting in General Fund savings of $310 million. The fee provides funding for children’s health coverage as well as supplemental payments for hospitals.
- Implement unspecified “efficiencies” in Medi-Cal managed care in order to reduce General Fund spending by $135 million.
- Require Medi-Cal enrollees to select their health plans during an annual open enrollment period and remain in that plan for a full year. This proposal would reduce General Fund spending by $1 million in 2013-14 and each year thereafter.
We will keep you posted on how the budget will impact low-income people in our community as the budget process continues.
The information in this article was adapted from the California Budget Project brief on the Governor’s proposal. You can read the full report here: http://cbp.org/pdfs/2013/130110_Gov_Budget_Release.pdf.