Spending on welfare, child care, home care, Medi-Cal, prisons, courts and state employees would be reduced. For now, education is relatively untouched.
June 21, 2012, 5:32 p.m.
Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democratic lawmakers announced Thursday that they had reached a deal on state spending. Here are some key elements of the budget agreement:
Spending on welfare, child care and home care for the elderly and disabled would be reduced. There would be stricter requirements and time limits placed on welfare recipients, but those close to finishing job-training programs could get exemptions. Monthly welfare checks would not be reduced. State-supported child care would be sliced 8.7%. In-Home Supportive Services, which allow some elderly and disabled residents to avoid being moved into nursing homes, would be reduced by about $90 million. That cut means beneficiaries would receive 3.6% fewer hours of care.
The budget includes more than $1 billion in cuts to Medi-Cal — the insurance program for the poor — and other state health programs. The bulk of the savings, $663 million, would come from a plan to move 1.4 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medi-Cal into managed care. The budget also is banking on an improving economy to lower the state’s healthcare costs. It assumes hundreds of thousands of people will go off Medi-Cal as they or family members return to work. Since 2008, Medi-Cal rolls have swelled to nearly 8 million people, up from about 6 million before the recession began. The budget also includes about $88 million in reduced reimbursements to private hospitals and nursing homes. Although the federal government has rejected most of the Brown administration’s requests to have the poor pay a share of their healthcare costs, the budget does include patient co-pays for a few services, including non-emergency visits to an emergency room and certain prescription drugs. It also calls for poor patients with AIDS to pay more for their medication. Lastly, the budget phases out the Healthy Families program for children, shifting them into Medi-Cal.
Prisons and courts
To save billions over the next few years, officials want to close a prison, end contracts with private out-of-state facilities and cancel some construction projects. They also plan to shift staff to reduce costs, hold inmates in less expensive housing and continue sending low-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons.
As for the state court system, the budget would slice $300 million from the trial courts. Up to 38 construction projects would be halted because of an additional $240 million in cuts. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has said the cuts could lead to more courtroom closures, depriving residents of access to the judicial system.
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