Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), with Assembly Member and budget chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), has released the Assembly Democrats’ proposed budget plan for the 2014-15 budget year. The proposed Budget Blueprint restores funding from cuts that were previously made to health services, builds a budget reserve over the next three years, pays down debt, increases funding in early education as well as higher education, and improves funding for child poverty programs. The Assembly Democrats’ goals include restoring some funding for Medi-Cal reimbursement as well as several public health programs, such as the Early Mental Health Initiative.
The plan recognizes that Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cuts made over the last several years will limit access to health care that the Affordable Care Act is intended to improve. The Blueprint’s proposal would phase in Medi-Cal rate increases to restore reimbursement rates and ensure adequate health providers for the expanded Medi-Cal population. One of CHA’s key goals in 2014 will focus on retroactive rate reductions, which have not yet been collected, to distinct-part skilled-nursing facilities. CHA hopes to stop the collection of those funds – often referred to as the “clawback.”
The Governor will release his budget plan in early January. It will not be as generous as the Assembly Democrats’ Blueprint, but the budget year should prove to be far less painful than the past several years.