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LAO: cutting health, welfare spending

March 28, 2010

Health and social service spending represents nearly a third of the state’s general fund. But facing a $20 billion deficit, the Legislature’s hands are tied by federal mandates, court decisions and voter-approved measures. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst examines the health and welfare budget and offers proposals for reducing it. See the report here.

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Appeals court blocks Medi-Cal rate reduction

March 4, 2010
A federal appeals court has once again blocked California from reducing payments to doctors and hospitals that care for the poor under the state's Medi-Cal program, finding that the Legislature did not sufficiently study the impact of the cuts before enacting them. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected the state's attempt to cut reimbursements for the wages of in-home care workers by nearly 20 percent.

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Care for 1 million kids at risk

February 26, 2010
The California Budget Project has just released a county-by-county analysis showing the regional impact on children's health care from the proposals in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget. Statewide the cuts would eliminate coverage for more than 1 million kids while forfeiting $1 billion in federal funds now coming to the state.

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Budget would cut support for seniors

February 25, 2010
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget for the coming year has serious implications for California’s low-income seniors. According to a recent analysis by the UCLA Center for Health Policy, the proposal would dismantle California’s home- and community-based long-term care system. Full implementation of the proposed cuts would likely leave frail, low-income seniors – among the state’s most vulnerable residents – without needed support.

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Democrats push budget package

February 22, 2010
The Democrats in the Legislature have sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a package of budget bills that would trim about $2.3 billion from a projected $20 billion budget shortfall. The lawmakers held back on a complex tax swap involving the gas tax because Schwarzenegger had threatened to veto their version, and they wanted to continue the negotiations.

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Babies, bathwater and billions

February 14, 2010
If someone handed Governor Schwarzenegger a check for a billion dollars, you probably wouldn’t expect him to tear it up or send it to Washington, D.C. to give to other states. But that’s exactly what he has proposed doing in his FY 2010/11 budget. And his budget would toss a million children’s reliable health care overboard at the same time.

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In health and human services, demand grows while funds shrink

February 14, 2010
California enters 2010 in extraordinary fiscal circumstances, with a significant structural budget deficit that continues to require spending reductions in all areas of state government. At the same time, caseloads in our state’s biggest health and human services programs have grown dramatically in recent years, a reflection of both policy decisions to support the state’s safety net as well as the more recent dramatic economic downturn.

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Report: IHSS not a cost-saver

January 21, 2010
The fastest-growing major social program in state government -- In-Home Supportive Services -- does not save the state and county governments more than it costs by keeping people out of nursing homes, the Legislative Analyst concludes in a new report. The LAO recommends an overhaul that would focus the in-home services on those who are most likely to end up in institutions without the assistance in their homes.

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Steinberg, Arnold make joint plea in DC

January 19, 2010
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg has joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Washington D.C. for a two-pronged bipartisan push for more aid and federal breaks for California.

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