Coalition protests healthcare cuts in CA

It's somewhat ironic that a Governor as well known for his commitment to physical fitness as he is for being an aging action adventure hero has proposed deep budget cuts that could leave more than one million Californians without access to healthcare. But if adopted, Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget proposals would cut Medicaid spending by more than $1.1 billion in the fiscal year that begins next Tuesday.

A coalition of providers, carriers, labor unions and consumer advocates have joined forces to protest the cuts. The coalition includes Catholic Healthcare West; the Service Employees International Union; AARP and Health Access California; Kaiser Permanente and Health Net. In January, the same group failed to convince legislators to support a bill that would have funded a $15 billion health care expansion. The proposed cuts are expected to be approved because California has a $17 billion deficit.

Providers are rallying where they can to come up with strategies for ensuring access. For example, Health Net of California said that it will provide up to $5 million in emergency loans to keep safety-net health clinics vulnerable to budget cuts open.

For more info:
- see The Los Angeles Times story