The Assembly Democratic leadership, under Speaker John A. Perez, unveiled their priorities for the 2014-15 Budget. We welcome the balanced approach to fiscal responsibility and restoring key programs that were slashed during the budget crisis, and the focus on reinvesting in health and other vital services. Here’s the main outline:
2014-15 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget:
- Ensuring Stability
- Build Reserves to $8 billion (including new Rainy Day Fund)
- Smart use of “one-time” funds
- Rein in Prison Housing Costs
- Expanding Opportunity
- Invest in Early Education and Higher Education
- Reduce Child Poverty
- Improve Access to Health Care
- Fund Jobs Investments
Here’s the bullet points under “Improve Access to Health Care”:
Health Access Background:
* California is successfully implementing the Affordable Care Act.
* Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cuts during the Great Recession may limit the access to health care that the ACA is intended to improve.
* Critical Public Health programs also were cut during the Great Recession, harming public health particularly in low-income communities.
Blueprint’s Health Access Proposal:
* Phase in Medi-Cal rate increases to restore reimbursement rates to ensure adequate health providers for the expanded Medi-Cal population.
* Restore Public Health programs – such as: the Early Mental Health Initiative; Asthma Public Health Initiative; and Black Infant Health – to improve public health and to avoid more expensive health costs down the road.