Governor’s Proposed Budget is Devastating for Older Adults ~ Fight Back

Governor’s Proposed Budget is Devastating for Older Adults ~ Fight Back

In mid May, Governor Newsom released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. With the drastic costs of COVID-19 causing a huge budget deficit of $54.3 billion, some hard choices and cuts are expected. But, the cuts he proposed would be devastating for our state’s older adults and people with disabilities. California Health Advocates strongly opposes them.

A summary of some of the cuts from our partners at Justice in Aging includes:

  • The budget eliminates or reduces many programs that allow older adults to remain at home and in the community, including Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS), Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), and (In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), increasing the risk of institutionalization at a time when more than 1/3 of all deaths in the state are in nursing facilities.
  • The budget makes a number of cuts to Medicaid, including reinstating the senior penalty, eliminating Medicaid expansion for older immigrants, and cutting back or eliminating dental, vision, hearing, and other optional services. The budget also reinstates Medicaid estate recovery. (See more details below).
  • The budget reduces the state’s supplement to SSI by the same amount as the federal COLA, putting the state’s SSI recipients right back where they were before the COLA, well below the federal poverty line.

Some ways you can oppose these draconian cuts include:

  • Call your state legislator. Click here to find your senator and assembly member and use Justice in Aging’s budget analysis to describe what cuts must be stopped
  • Provide Public Comment. The hearing at the Senate Budget Committee on Health and Human Services is Saturday, May 23, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. PT
  • Send your written testimony or public comment prior to the hearing to: sbud.committee@senate.ca.gov (Note that your email is considered public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.)
  • Use these Tweets and graphics from Justice in Aging’s toolkit.

 

Below are also more details regarding proposed Medi-Cal cuts from the Health and Human Services Budget Summary. See the link for additional details on IHSS, CalWorks, SSI/SSP, and much more.

Medi-Cal

  • Proposes to eliminate the CBAS and MSSP programs with the effective date for CBAS January 1, 2021 and the effective date for MSSP no sooner than July 1, 2020
  • Elimination of the proposal for Full-Scope Medi-Cal to undocumented older adults
  • Elimination of the proposal for the expansion of Medi-Cal to aged, blind, and disabled individuals with incomes between 123 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and it proposes not to implement the Aged, Blind, and Disabled Medicare Part B disregard
  • Proposes to revert and reduce funding from various augmentations that were included in the 2019 Budget Act including:
    • Behavioral health counselors in emergency departments
    • Medi-Cal enrollment navigators
    • Medical Interpreters Pilot Project
    • Augmentation for caregiver resource centers
  • Proposes to reduce adult dental benefits to the partial restoration levels of 2014 and to eliminate audiology, incontinence creams and washes, speech therapy, optician/optical lab, podiatry, acupuncture, optometry, nurse anesthetists services, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacist services, screening, brief intervention and referral to treatments for opioids and other illicit drugs in Medi-Cal, and diabetes prevention program services
Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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