New Revenue Must Help Ensure Patient Access to Health Care

Senate Republicans Introduce Proposals to Prioritize Care Providers Left Out of Budget
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today, Senate Republicans introduced two health care measures to help low-income and disabled Californians gain better access to doctors, nurses, and developmental services. These measures are authored by Senators Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) and Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County). The measures are also co-authored by members from the Senate Republican caucus, including Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Republican members on the Senate Committee charged with hearing proposals in the special session.

The two measures would:

  • Require new revenues to increase reimbursement rates for developmental disability services and restore the remaining 10 percent reductions to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates; and

  • Redirect monies from the closure of state developmental centers to pay for community services for the developmentally disabled.

“California collected $10 billion in new tax revenue this year, but somehow the majority party could not find a way to prioritize spending at least part of that money to shore up health care for the poor and services for the disabled. As the train left the station, these individuals were left behind,” said Sen. Morrell, Vice-Chair of the Public Health and Developmental Services Committee for the extraordinary session on health care. “Now Democrats want to raise taxes on 24 million Californians by as much as $1,200 a year to do what they should have done in the first place. Republicans believe this is not the solution. We should be considering options that meet the needs of our state’s most vulnerable, while at the same time not imposing new burdens on families.”

Sen. Nielsen added, “Extra revenues should be dedicated to Proposition 98, the Rainy Day Fund and an increase to Medi-Cal providers to ensure access for those most vulnerable.”

Specifically, the measure would require any new General Fund revenues available over 2015 budget levels to be dedicated to increasing reimbursement rates for developmental disability services by up to 10 percent and restoring the 10 percent reduction to Medi-Cal provider rates. Both measures aim to provide sufficient funding for programs that serve our state’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Republicans advocated for the funding of these programs during the budget process. The recently approved budget received $10 billion more in new tax monies that could have paid for these much needed services.

The proposed tax to Californians’ health care is unnecessary.

“Instead of restoring funding to Medi-Cal providers so they can better serve the 12.4 million low-income Californians already enrolled in the programs, Democrats chose to spend the extra revenue on such things as pay raises for state employees, free cell phone plans with unlimited data and texting, and expanding the welfare cash card program to include drug felons,” said Sen. Stone. “And now they say we have to tax our health care plans, which will result in higher premiums for Californians, to pay for things that should have been paid using existing state funds. People really need to challenge the Democrats on their priorities.”