The Senate Adopts Many Health Cuts, But Rejects "Death Panel" Caps…

The Senate Budget committee met today to consider, among other things, the Governor’s proposed cuts to Health and Human Services. The Committee moved swiftly, as if pulling off a band-aid, to shorten if not to assuage the pain of their actions. While hearing the staff presentation about the proposed hard cap on physician visits, Senator Leno asked “does this action make us a death panel?” He apparently though yes, since the committee rejected that cut.

Cuts Approved By Committee

10% Reduction to Medicaid Providers

10% Reduction to Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled

10% Reduction to Nursing Homes

Acceptance of additional General Fund Savings

Mandatory Copay on Physician and Clinic Visits

Mandatory Pharmacy Copay

Mandatory Hospital Copay

Mandatory Dental Copay

Eliminating Over the Counter Cough and Cold Medicines

Reduce Enteral Nutrition Products Benefits

Limit Hearing Aid Benefits

Redirect $1 Billion in Proposition 10 (First 5) funds – committee approved subcommittee recommendation to redirect these funds for 1 year only

Increase Premiums for Healthy Families

Hospital Copays for Healthy Families

Cuts Rejected By Committee

Hard Cap of 10 Physician/Clinic Visits per year

Hard Cap of 6 prescriptions per month

Hard Cap on Durable Medical Equipment

Hard Cap on Medical Supplies

Healthy Families Vision Coverage – committee voted to reject the elimination of vision coverage in Healthy Families, but to implement cost containment measures that would result in $3 million in savings.

Committee Chair Mark Leno expressed a commitment to reaching the Governor’s proposed reduction target numerically and to following the broad architecture of that proposal. Though Leno estimated that the Committee would reject 10% of Governor Brown’s proposed cuts to “soften the roughest edges,” he promised to propose alternative solutions, including ongoing cuts not proposed by the Governor, to achieve the same amount in savings.

More to come.

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