Friday, February 3, 2012 The CSAC Bulletin
Health and Human Services
For more information, please contact Kelly Brooks-Lindsay at 916.650.8108, or Farrah McDaid Ting at 916.650.8110.

Legislature Hears Impacts of Recession and Budget Cuts on Women

On February 1, Senator Carol Liu, Assembly Member Holly Mitchell and Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal chaired a joint oversight hearing on the impact of the recession on California women and their families. Senator Liu chairs Senate Human Services Committee and Assembly Mitchell chairs Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on health and human services. Assembly Member Lowenthal is chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

The Women’s Foundation of California and the California Budget Project released a joint paper, Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and Their Families. The report served as the foundation for the testimony provided to the legislature. The Women’s Foundation of California will be using the report to begin organizing grassroots efforts and to engage policy makers about the pending budget cuts that will affect women.
Report highlights include:
  • Single mothers were hardest hit by the recession and recent budget cuts contributed to sharp increases in poverty. The employment rate for California’s single mothers dropped by 10.4 percent from 2007 to 2010.
  • Older women (over age 65) also experienced an increase in poverty.
  • Both groups of women bore the brunt of repeated budget cuts – to Medi-Cal, to child care, and to income supports (SSI/SSP, CalWORKs grants).
  • Budget cuts have reduced access to higher education for women seeking to gain skills needed to obtain higher wage jobs. Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, enrollment in community colleges declined by 129,612 students with 81.6 percent of this decline being women.
Jean Ross, Executive Director of the California Budget Project, speculated that reductions in evening class offerings and career technical classes might explain the precipitous drop in enrollment among women at community colleges.

Judge Blocks Medi-Cal Provider Cuts

On January 30, United States District Court Judge Christina Snyder issued a preliminary injunction to halt the state’s proposed 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates. 

Judge Snyder’s preliminary injunction follows last week’s temporary ruling to halt the cuts, in which she cited the potential for irreparable harm to Medi-Cal providers and their ability to continue providing services to eligible recipients. 

The injunction halts the state’s plan to save $623 in the 2011-12 budget, despite federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the retroactive cuts last October. 

The cuts now under injunction would have affected clinics, dentists, laboratories, optometrists and pharmacists. Judge Snyder had previously blocked Medi-Cal provider cuts to hospital-based skilled nursing care and some pharmacy and managed care services. 

The lawsuit to halt the provider reimbursement rate cuts was brought to the court by several health care organizations, including the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association and the California Pharmacists Association. 

The state has said it will appeal the decision. 

AB 1387 (Solorio) – Pending
As Amended on September 2, 2011

AB 1387, by Assembly Member Jose Solorio, would amend what is commonly known as Section 201 (Health and Safety Code Section 1797.201-224) of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System and the Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Care Personnel Act (EMS Act) to require grandfathered EMS transportation providers to enter into a written agreement with their respective Local Emergency Medical Services Agency (LEMSA) by 2014. The current language in AB 1387 was formerly in AB 210 by the same author. 

Previous versions of the measure were intended to address Section 201 issues surrounding regulatory authority, local control, and operational control in local EMS systems. However, a broad stakeholder group was unable to reach consensus on many of these issues, and amicably declared an impasse on February 1. The group instead will work with the state Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) to convene a small working group to examine opportunities to implement shared areas of agreement through the regulatory process. 

AB 1387 remains on the Senate Floor on the Inactive File, but is technically one vote away from the Governor’s desk. We anticipate that the bill’s sponsor, the California Professional Firefighters (Association), and Assembly Member Solorio will use AB 1387 as a vehicle for other policy priorities, but we will continue to monitor the measure closely.
Counties wish to thank Assembly Member Solorio for listening to our county concerns and maintaining his commitment to a consensus bill. We also wish to thank the sponsors and members of the stakeholder group for their honesty and collaborative spirit during this difficult process. Section 201 issues are sure to resurface, but the understanding that has evolved between stakeholders will surely assist any future efforts in this area to the benefit of all.