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Jerry Brown's budget alarms health advocates

January 5, 2012 |  8:35 pm


The headline cuts in Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal are the $4.8 billion in reductions hanging over public schools if voters don't approve the governor's tax hike in November.

But even if California citizens loosen their pocketbooks for the governor, there will be other big reductions should Brown's plan be implemented, including what advocates say is the end of one of the state's marquee healthcare programs -- Healthy Families.

The program insures children of people who are not quite poor enough to qualify for Medi-Cal but still lack health insurance.The governor intends to raise the income limit for Medi-Cal and move the Healthy Families children there in October, according to the budget and an analysis by the California Medical Assn.

Fewer doctors accept Medi-Cal patients because the program is stingier. And Brown hopes to squeeze over $800 million more from Medi-Cal by switching it to a managed care program.

“It would be irresponsible to move forward with these proposals without assurances that children will not be harmed,” said Wendy Lazarus, founder and co-president of the Children's Partnership, in a statement.

In his afternoon news conference, Brown, a Democrat, did not address the Health Families issue directly but made clear he was unhappy with the need to reduce services. "This is not nice stuff," he said. "But that's what it takes to balance the budget."


Jerry Brown proposes deep cuts to schools if voters reject taxes

Jerry Brown says schools in "good shape" to dodge cuts

Jerry Brown tax campaign takes in $1.2 million from big donors

-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown at a news conference last month. Credit: Autumn Cruz / Sacramento Bee