California Advocates Outraged by Health Proposals Cut From Budget at 11th Hour

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Advocates said they are furious that legislative leaders didn’t use more of the state’s budget surplus—estimated to be the largest in decades—to tackle health care disparities and further support the Affordable Care Act in the face of federal attempts to undermine its stability. Photo: iStock

Health advocates are decrying the budget deal reached between Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders last week, calling it a missed opportunity to improve health care access for struggling Californians.

The $200 billion deal reached Friday between Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins includes $500 million to fight homelessness and $90 million to increase grants to people on welfare. However, it dropped key proposals by Democratic legislators to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented immigrants under age 26 and expand financial subsidies for people who purchase health insurance on the Covered California exchange.

Brown touted the deals’ approximately $16 billion in contributions to the state’s rainy day fund and reserves.