California Healthline: How Budget Cuts Hit the Health System

by David Gorn

A number of health care budget items are expected to be decided this week in talks between legislators and the governor:

  • Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates are among the lowest Medicaid payments in the nation. Some legislators are pushing to restore the 10% cut made three years ago.
  • California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and other Democratic state lawmakers have introduced a package of proposals aimed at increasing mental health training for law enforcement officers and reducing recidivism among inmates with mental illnesses.
  • Home health care workers receiving In-Home Supportive Services payments are facing a cap on hours at 40 a week; advocates want to avoid that, as well as restore a 7% cut in IHSS hours.
  • The fate of several children’s programs and benefits hang in the budget negotiations. Those include the Black Infant Health Program, the possibility of including Applied Behavior Analysis treatment (ABA therapy) for autism as a Medi-Cal benefit, the Early Mental Health Initiative and the state Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program.

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