Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Crisis Continues

From CDCAN this morning:

Major Cuts Take Effect July 1 As Part of 2009-2010 Budget Passed in February

Meanwhile, several major cuts, approved in February by the Legislature and Governor as part of the 2009-2010 State Budget that was passed four months early, will take effect July 1, 2009 (see separate CDCAN Report for full details including permanent grant cut to CalWORKS that takes effect July 1):
  • MEDI-CAL: Permanent elimination of 9 Medi-Cal optional benefits: adult dental (over age of 22), optometry, optician and optical laboratory services, audiology services, speech therapy, acupuncture services, podiatry, chiropractor services, psychology and incontinence creams and washes.
  • SSI/SSP - Permanent reduction of 2.3% of the SSI/SSP (Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment) grants to persons with disabilities, the blind and low income seniors to a maximum of $850 per month for individuals and a maximum of $1,489 for couples. This will be the fourth time in just over 12 months that the SSI/SSP grants have been cut in some way (the June 2008 state cost of living was suspended/cut, the federal cost of living given on January 1, 2009 was suspended/withheld as of May 1, 2009 and the June 2009 state cost of living was suspended/cut). A proposal to further reduce the SSI/SSP grant levels is part of both the Democratic proposed revised budget plan, and the Governor’s proposal – and neither has final approval yet.
  • IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS) – as part of the 2009-2010 State Budget passed in February, the Legislature passed and the Governor approved to limit the IHSS Share of Cost Buy-Out program to the persons in the that program before July 1, 2009. A federal district court judge has blocked – at least temporarily - the reduction in state funding for IHSS worker wages to $9.50 per hour plus 60 cents for health benefits, which was passed as part of the 2009-2010 State Budget in February, from taking effect on July 1, 2009. Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued her order on June 26 (see CDCAN website for couple for her brief order) which she said will be followed up by a longer order. Both the Democratic revised budget plan and the Governor’s revised budget proposals he released in May contain more cuts to IHSS – though none of those have final approval yet.
  • REGIONAL CENTERS – 3% cut to regional center funded provider payments, which was included in the 2009-2010 State Budget passed in February and made effective retroactively to February 1, 2009 – continues into the 2009-2010 State budget year, as does a 3% cut to regional center operations.

Also effective July 1, - though there the specifics on how to actually implement the reduction still is waiting final approval, is a $100 million reduction in state funding for regional centers. Still waiting final approval is an additional $234 million cut on top of that in state spending for developmental services and the specifics on how to achieve that cut. Both the Democratic plan and the Governor’s plan are essentially identical. A trigger that if pulled, would implement an additional 7.1% provider payment cut effective September 1, 2009, will not happen because the Budget Conference Committee gave approval to proposals that will achieve the $100 million in spending cuts in state funding – though final approval of the full Legislature and Governor is still needed.

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