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HERE WE GO AGAIN…
California’s Elders, Persons with Disabilities and Poor Brace for Cuts


“California’s Governor has thrown down the gauntlet and has asked our legislators to choose between starving our children, sending the mentally ill to the streets, and denying health care to the poorest of the poor or imposing taxes on corporations.” (6/10 CANHR Advocate)

It’s hard to believe that those words were written only eight months ago in June of 2010 when Schwarzenegger was Governor, because they could so easily be applied to Governor Jerry Brown. It’s as if he looked at the cuts proposed by the previous Governor that were overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature and the courts and decided to not only match his bet, but to raise it.

So, here we go again with proposed cuts that would devastate the safety net for hundreds of thousands of low-income elders and persons with disabilities. Only this year, we are very concerned that those legislators – who stood up to the Governor last year and said “no” – will go along for the ride and refuse to hear the voices of their constituents who will suffer the most from the cuts in services.

Proposed Cuts to Services for Aged and Persons with Disabilities

ADHC: Elimination of the Adult Day Health Care program and a 10% cut during current year. Approximately 27,000 adults use Adult Day Health Care program services provided by over 330 providers.

MSSP: Elimination of the Multipurpose Senior Services Program which provides case management services for Medi-Cal eligible seniors who would otherwise qualify for placement in a nursing home.

The cuts would be effective for the 2011-2012 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011. MSSP currently has 41 sites serving about 11,789 seniors per month.

SSI/SSP: Reduce the SSI/SSP rate from $845/month to $830/month by reducing the state portion (SSP) of the maximum SSI/SSP individual grants to the lowest level allowed by the federal government.

IHSS: Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts are proposed for the In Home Supportive Services Program (IHSS) which provides assistance in the home for needed personal care and offers essential household services to, according to the UCLA Health Policy Center, about 440,000 low-income elders and persons with disabilities in California. Proposed cuts to IHSS include a total of 12% reduction in hours for all IHSS recipients; narrowing eligibility requirements; elimination of all domestic and related services for persons under the age of 18 living at home; and elimination of domestic and related services for adults who live in “shared living arrangements” –among other cuts to IHSS.

Cuts to Services for Developmentally Disabled: The Governor’s budget proposal includes $750,000,000 in cuts for services for the developmentally disabled. The bulk of those cuts will impact the 21 non-profit regional centers that coordinate community-based services and supports to over 240,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Medi-Cal Reduction in Services and Co-Pays: In addition to a 10% across the board cut in Medi-Cal to providers (including nursing homes), a variety of other cuts and co-pays for services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries are also included in the proposed budget that would limit prescriptions and doctors visits and institute co-payments for a variety of services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

This litany of cuts does not even include the harsh cuts to mental health, aid to families with children, health care to children, education and other state and county services. We can do nothing and watch California – once the “golden” state – turn into a third world country where only the wealthy can access services, or we can let our voices be heard.

Fast Track

The Senate and the Assembly completed first drafts of their budgets last week, and now the two-house conference committee will meet to try to forge a compromise. While the Senate approved a $5 million reduction to MSSP and rejected the remainder of the proposed reduction, the Assembly rejected the Governor’s proposal and fully restored the funding for MSSP. As for Adult Day Health Care, in lieu of maintaining the ADHC Benefit, the Senate recast services and funding sources, while the Assembly maintained the ADHC benefit but reduced the funding. Both houses took actions that maintained the Governor’s level of IHSS savings with minor differences in approaches.

The Governor has imposed a fast track timeline of March 10 for approval of his major budget provisions in order to place $11 billion in tax extensions on the ballot in June. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers announced February 23 that 30 Republicans had formed a “Taxpayers Caucus,” vowing not to send Brown’s tax hike extensions to the ballot unless they are accompanied by tax reduction proposals.

Given the dynamics, it seems less likely that the March 10 deadline for a budget approval will be met.

CALL TO ACTION

Call, write or email your State Senator and Assemblymember and tell them to reject these foolish proposals that would leave aged and disabled Californians with no choice but a nursing home and end up costing the taxpayers much more in the future. Don’t know your Senator or Assembly Member?  Look it up on this Web page or call the CANHR office:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

Page Last Modified: June 17, 2011