Los Angeles, CA
May 16, 2011

Peter Manzo, President & CEO of the United Ways of California, issued the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s May revised budget proposal to merge Healthy Families into Medi-Cal (a General Fund savings of $31.2 million) and increase funding for K-12 education by $3 billion.:

“United Ways of California believes that health, education and financial stability are the building blocks for a good life, and that addressing any of those areas effectively requires attention to all. We appreciate that, while facing an enormous budget deficit, the Governor recognized the importance of education in our children’s lives by increasing funding for K – 12 education. Clearly that is a win for our kids.

“What is less clear is what the proposal to merge the Healthy Families with Medi-Cal will mean for our children who rely on these programs for their health care. This requires a thorough analysis for its long-term impact for California children’s health before moving forward.  It is a complicated endeavor to transition 870,000 Healthy Families children into Medi-Cal.  There would need to be careful planning so that all eligible children obtain and keep the health care they need; and to guarantee access to doctors who currently may not accept Medi-Cal but do participate in Healthy Families.

“In addition, we are relieved that CalWorks did not get hit with a greater reduction of benefits since the program was already cut to the bone in the first round of budget cuts enacted earlier this year. Further cuts would only make it more difficult for struggling families to find a pathway out of poverty.

“UWCA believes that the services most vital to vulnerable families and children must be maintained, especially in this time of severe budget deficits, high unemployment, and slow economic recovery.  A balanced approach to budgeting that saves these services is crucial to help families struggling get back on track so California can be great again.

“We urge our Legislators to take a balanced approach to California’s budget and ensure that an all cuts budget does not become an option.”