May 13, 2014
Contact: Isobel White, (510) 828-3554
Governor’s May Revision Misses the Mark
Does not improve children’s access to health care or restore cuts to successful prevention programs
On behalf of a coalition of leading children’s health advocates in California, Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown’s 2014-15 May Revision of his budget proposal:
“We are pleased that the Governor’s May Revision reflects the continued success of the state’s expansion of Medi-Cal coverage to more children and families. However, the Governor’s revised budget misses a golden opportunity to build a healthier California by restoring cuts to children’s health programs. In the ongoing budget discussions over the next month, we urge the Governor and state Legislature to prioritize California’s poor and vulnerable children by restoring funding for proven prevention programs for children. In addition, as the Governor expands access to health coverage through Medi-Cal, he and the Legislature must also take the budget actions to ensure there are enough doctors and dentists in Medi-Cal to provide the needed care for children and families.
We are disappointed that the Governor’s revised budget fails to restore critical, effective public health prevention programs for children that were eliminated during the recession. These include programs to serve high-risk infants and provide preventive dental and mental health services, such as the Black Infant Health Program, California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program, and Early Mental Health Initiative. Given the state’s $2.4 billion increase in revenues, we urge the Legislature and Governor to reinvest in children’s health by reinstating these cost-effective and successful programs.
Prevention and early intervention in children’s health can improve the health of California’s children, families and communities, and save money by reducing long-term health care and other costs to taxpayers. The budget also fails to fund behavioral therapy for children with autism in Medi-Cal, despite the fact that all other children in the state have access to this standard-of-care treatment.
The substantial increase in enrollment in Medi-Cal is encouraging news. However, California must do the hard work of ensuring there are enough doctors, dentists and providers to serve all children and families in Medi-Cal. California’s Medi-Cal provider payments are already among the lowest in the country. By failing to restore a 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal payments, the Governor’s revised budget undermines access to care for children. Continuing cuts to Medi-Cal providers passed during the recession will irresponsibly put the health of half of California’s children at risk by making it prohibitively burdensome for children and families to get the care they need.
We are encouraged that Governor Brown’s revised budget continues to recognize the importance of children’s access to health services by proposing $2 million for a new pilot program in Los Angeles to increase utilization of children’s vision services. We hope the Governor will work with children’s health stakeholders to develop a replicable, high-impact pilot program, and also implement other efforts to improve outreach and access to critical children’s health services, including dental.”
Ted Lempert, President – 510-763-2444 x155 or 650-245-8166
The Children’s Partnership
Kathleen Hamilton, Director, Sacramento Governmental Affairs – 916-706-2917
Children’s Defense Fund California
Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Senior Policy & Communications Associate – 510-663-1294
Please contact Trineka Greer to schedule interview with Corey Timpson, PICO California, Director – 916-813-9428
California Coverage & Health Initiatives
Suzie Shupe, Executive Director – 916-404-9442 or 707-292-3932
United Ways of California
Bryan Ha, Senior Policy Associate – 916-842-0713
CCHI is a leader in health advocacy for children and families and is recognized as a statewide network of community organizations that champion enrollment in health coverage, access to care and other services.