CIPC BUDGET UPDATE ON GOVERNOR'S 2013-14 PROPOSAL
Brighter Economic Forecast Fails to Bring Restoration of Health and Human Services for Low-Income Californians After Years of Budget Cuts.
Today, Governor Brown released his 2013-2014 budget proposal, which fortunately did not include the types of cuts to health and human services programs we've seen in the past, but failed to address health and human service restorations critical for California’s families. Since 2008, California’s HHS programs have been eviscerated by over $15 billion in cuts. CIPC sees the weakening of the state's safety net for low-income and working families as an important issue legislators need to address, as immigrant and other families continue to suffer from the lagging economy. Below is an initial analysis of how this newly proposed budget will affect California’s immigrant families. CIPC will provide a more detailed analysis in the coming days.
Governor Brown released a $97.7 billion budget plan for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, a 5% increase from last year's budget, and one that does not include mult-billion dollar cuts to health and human services programs as we’ve seen in the past. The proposed budget eliminates this year’s deficit, could create a $1 billion reserve, and would also begin to pay down the “wall of debt” from previous years. Unfortunately, no restorations were made to programs like CalWORKs, Childcare, or other services that support low-income and working families at a time when families are still struggling.
We are pleased that the Administration will move forward with the Medi-Cal expansion to individuals who are below 138% of the federal poverty level, as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, we are very disappointed that county funding could be negatively impacted in the process. A decrease in county funding means that the limited health care access some immigrant families and their kids have today could be further restricted or eliminated if they are ineligible for coverage under the new law. Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, we will need a safety net to provide care for California’s remaining uninsured population.
Impact on Programs
Medi-Cal: Governor Brown has proposed two options for how California will move forward on the historic Medi-Cal expansion as part of implementation of the ACA. The first option would continue the Low Income Health Programs at the county level with statewide eligibility requirements. This option would require a federal waiver. Under the second option, under a state-based expansion, the state would administer the Medi-Cal program, and capture county savings from the expansion to pay for indigent adults. The counties would assume fiscal responsibility for various human services programs, including subsidized child care.
The Administration will be negotiating with counties to determine which option is best based on their needs and obligations. Once implemented, the Medi-Cal expansion will provide coverage to 1.4 million low income Californians, and many immigrant families stand to benefit. On the contrary, many immigrant families who find themselves locked out of the ACA, could face increasing barriers to health access worsening health disparities. These changes could likely impact public health programs, public hospitals, and trauma care.
CIPC was pleased to see that there were no changes to the state-funded program for recent lawfully present immigrants, but unfortunately full-scope Medi-Cal for this population will not be expanded in the same manner at this time.
CalWorks : No major changes to CalWORKs have been proposed, however, there will be an adjustment for counties to receive $142.8 million in new money for welfare to work services. Additionally, the Department of Social Services will convene a stakeholder workgroup to consider how to streamline child care to score additional cost savings. After the billions in cuts to CalWORKs over the last few years, we were disappointed to see that there was not a re-investment in the program to support families in poverty.
CAPI and CFAP: Fortunately, in this budget there were absolutely no reductions to the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) and California Food Assistance Program (CFAP). In fact, with CAPI we are likely to see a cost-of-living adjustment due to increases in the federal Consumer Price Index, which will cause grants to go up by $10/month for individuals and $20/month for couples.
CIPC will conduct further analysis over the course of the next few days, as well as provide regular updates to support your advocacy efforts this budget season. Please look out for the launch of CIPC’s 2013 Budget Advocacy Toolkit in the coming weeks.
For more information please visit the Department of Finance website: www.dof.ca.gov