California’s independent pharmacists say recent budget cuts could put an end to local, independently owned pharmacies, impeding access to pharmaceuticals for low-income and disabled Californians who rely on Medi-Cal to pay for their prescriptions. Medi-Cal is the State’s publically funded health insurance program and the State is calling for a 10% cut in the program’s budget.
Author: Jennifer Chaussee
Money set aside in California’s newly approved budget for the Adult Day Health Care program provides little to no assurance that the program will continue to exist. The existing program will still be eliminated later this summer, and a new program that is supposed to replace it faces an uncertain fate.
Mariv Tesoro is trying to stay positive. Working as a registered nurse and program director for an Adult Day Health Care Center in Downey, where families bring their elderly relatives for health care and social activities during the workday, Tesoro works to help her patients as they face their inevitable mortality. Working with the sick and the dying, positive thoughts can be hard to come by.
With the state facing a $15.4 billion budget shortfall, social programs across California are cutting costs by limiting eligibility. So why are state lawmakers voting to enroll more people in CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program, if there’s not enough money to go around? Lawmakers say an expanded food stamp program may actually help improve the economy at no cost to the state’s ailing general fund — though taxpayers in California and elsewhere will continue to foot the bill for the federally funded program.
In California’s state Capitol, they call it counter-cyclical, a mundane term used to describe the volatile rollercoaster effect of a bad economy on government-run social programs. As the economy and tax revenues decline, demand for many state-run programs increases, putting more stress on the budget just when it can handle it least. The grand daddy of all counter-cyclical programs: Medi-Cal, the state and federal program that provides health care for the poor.
As Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers look for places to cut in the state’s $85 billion budget, a popular program that provides in-home services for hundreds of thousands of disabled and elderly Californians has become a natural target.
California’s Legislature is so polarized over the state budget that lawmakers in recent years have mostly kicked the problem down the road. But even when lawmakers do agree and the governor goes along, they don’t have the final say. Judges do.