Brown's Budget Proposal To Address Health Care Issues in California

Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) fiscal year 2016-2017 budget proposal — set to be released Thursday — likely will address funding for Medi-Cal and other health-related priorities, the Sacramento Bee‘s “Capitol Alert” reports.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.

Expected Health Care Provisions

According to “Capitol Alert,” Brown’s plan is unlikely to include major policy proposals. However, there are several health priorities likely to be addressed, such as Medi-Cal’s budget (Miller/Siders, “Capitol Alert,” Sacramento Bee, 1/5).
The California Legislature adjourned for 2015 without passing a bill to restructure the state’s expiring managed care organization tax, leaving a $1.1 billion hole in the Medi-Cal budget. The Legislature has reconvened and still is debating the issue (California Healthline, 1/4).
Both Democrats and Republicans have questioned the need for a replacement tax, given predictions that the state’s tax revenue could surpass estimates by about $1.3 billion.
However, Brown administration officials have said that failing to replace the MCO tax could force offsetting cuts in the upcoming budget proposal (“Capitol Alert,” Sacramento Bee, 1/5).
For more on the MCO tax, see today’s “Capitol Desk” post.
Meanwhile, some advocates predict the budget proposal will address:

  • The expansion of managed care to seniors and people with disabilities;
  • Medi-Cal estate recovery; and
  • Tobacco taxes and control.

Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, said, “Californians are still living with recession-era cuts to health and human services,” adding, “With yet another surplus created out of the cuts of the past, it’s high time to restore key services, from vital public health programs to Medi-Cal benefit and rates” (Wright, State of Reform, 1/5).