Governor Brown Signs 2013-2014 State Budget and Medi-Cal Expansion

July 1, 2013
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On June 27th, 2013 Governor Jerry Brown signed the $96.3 billion California state budget for 2013-14. Unlike the two previous budget proposals that he put forward in January and May this budget will include restorations to several programs that will help improve the lives of some of California’s most vulnerable residents. This budget is the first small step on a roadmap to restore California to The Golden State.

With the additional revenues in the state coffers, community members and advocates demanded that restorations to health and human services programs be on the table. The unrelenting drum beat of Restore, Rebuild and Reinvest, caught on and legislative champions including: Speaker John Perez, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell held strong in their fight to begin sewing the state safety net back together. The Governor signed a budget that included partial restorations to adult dental care, child care, CalWORKs, and mental health.

This budget takes a small step towards addressing the more than 8.7 million people living in poverty in California. These small restorations were a victory and we should celebrate how the power of the people can’t be stopped but the fight does not end here! We will return next year, to continue to address poverty in California and the decimated safety net.  We hope that you will join us as we continue the fight, to continue to help our members, partners, and community members speak from the heart, lift each other’s voices, and continue building a movement to restore California to the Golden State!

Summary of 2013-14 California State Budget

Human Services:

  •  CalWORKs- Is California welfare-to-work program that provides modest cash assistance for 1.1 million low-income children and assist parents with job and or education assistance. This program has seen deep cuts to grant levels and reduced term limits, from 60 months, to 48 months and now 24 months.
    • A 5% increase to the maximum grant in 2013-14 beginning March 1, 2014. In following years, additional increases could be made based on the level of growth dollars available. The estimated cost for 5% increase is $51 million in 2013-14.
    • Increase the vehicle asset limit used in CalWORKs eligibility, effective January 1, 2014, to $9500 in equity value instead of the current amount of $4650.
    • $142.8 million to counties for CalWORKs employment services to assist with the implementation of the new time limits and other program changes made in the 2012-13 budget.
    • $47.7 million to identify employment barriers for individuals early in the enrollment and service process to maximize successful outcomes in response to the shortened term limits. These changes will take effect May 1st, 2014.

 

  • Child Care- is California’s subsidized child care program that provides assistance to low-income families with safe and reliable child care so parents can find jobs and stay employed. Over the last several years child care funding has been reduced by $1 billion, resulting in more than 110,000 child care slots being eliminated.
    • $30 million for new slots in the state preschool program but the Governor used his line-item veto authority to reduce funding to $25 million.
    • $10 million in unspent child care funds from the 2012-13 years will be used to provide new slots for General Child Care, Alternative Payment Program and Migrant Child Care in 2013-14.
    • $15.9 million from the General Fund to backfill sequestration cuts to child care.

 

  • In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) – This program assists more than 400,000 low income seniors and people with disabilities to live safely in their homes. In the last few years the Governor has approved cutting IHSS by more than 23 percent in recipient hours, putting many seniors and people with disabilities at risk of being institutionalized.
    • The agreed court settlement reduced the 20% across-the-board reduction to 8% beginning July 1, 2013 and 7% annually after July 1, 2014. 

 

Health Services:

Medi-Cal is the state’s Medicaid Program that provides health coverage to more than 8 million low-income individuals including families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, foster youth and pregnant women. Medi-Cal had services eliminated like dental, vision coverage, doctor visits limited, and co-pays increased for doctor visits, medicines and hospital stays.

 

  • Denti-Cal- $33.8 million ($16.9 million General Fund) in 2013-14 to restore selected dental services for low-income adults on Medi-Cal.  Effective May 1, 2014.
    • Coverage will include: basic exams, fluoride treatments, crowns, root canal therapy, complete dentures and other services.

 

  • Enteral Nutrition- $28.6 million ($14.3 million General Fund) will go to restore Medi-Cal enteral nutrition feeding benefit. Effective May, 1, 2014.

 

  • Medi-Cal- The seven annual physician visit cap has been repealed due to no federal approval.

 

  • Mental Health- $206.2 million for mental health services and improves outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders. This will also establish crisis centers, and mobile crisis teams. This increase in mental health funding will help Californian’s receive proper mental health care, escape depression, abusive relationships, and receive aid that will help them be more successful.

 

Expanding Health Care

 

  • Medi-Cal Expansion- The state-based approach to Medi-Cal expansion will provide health care access to millions of low-income childless adults. However, a realignment of services from the county to the state level will leave 3-4 million people living in California with no access to health care, and no health care safety net. The budget and accompanying legislation call for the expansion of Medi-Cal starting in January 2014 per federal health care reform..  The federal government will pay 100% of the cost for the first 3 years and 90% thereafter.
    • County Realignment- The realignment of county health services will feature drastic changes in the delivery of health services at the county level, traditionally the last line of defense for the safety net. Counties can choose between two funding options to continue serving people who will be left out of health care reform and Medi-Cal expansion.
      • The first is a formula based on actual county health care costs and revenues for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the uninsured. The state would keep 80% of savings that occur, and the county would keep the remaining 20% to reinvest in local health care delivery or spend it on public health activities. According to the state budget summary the cap will provide funding about and beyond what is needed to cover the remaining uninsured.
      • The second redirects 60 percent of a county’s health realignment allocation plus “maintenance-of-effort” costs to local human services programs, and the county will retain 40 percent of the funding for providing public health services and to serve the remaining uninsured.

 

Higher Education

 

  • Higher Education- Increase General Fund spending by more than $250 million for the UC and CSU in 2013-14.
    • Freeze on UC and CSU resident tuition for 2013-14.
    • Middle Class Scholarship program- provides scholarships at the UC and CSU systems for in-state students whose family incomes are between $100,000 and $150,000. Eligible students will receive tuition discounts between 10 and 40 % depending on family income. Total budget annual cost cap is $305 million. Effective 2014-2015.

This budget takes a small step down the roadmap to restore California to a golden state, but it is still just that, a small step. We thank our partners and legislative champions that kept their voices loud and refused to accept “no” from Governor Brown.

We pledge to keep fighting for a more just California budget that places people before rainy day funds and corporate interest, and one that fights to eliminate poverty.

For more information on our work, please visit us at www.california-partnership.org.

 

California Partnership is a statewide coalition of community-based organizations that fights poverty in California. Through organizing and advocacy, we work together under common values at local, state, and national levels for policies and programs that reduce and end poverty. 

 

Sources:

For the full 2013-2014 budget please see http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/

California Budget Project www.cbp.org

For additional questions please contact Jeff Brewer at jbrewer@communitychange.org, Pete Woiwode at pwoiwode@communitychange.org, or Astrid Campos at acampos@communitychange.org