By Cecilia Chen, Director, Public Policy, Northern California Grantmakers
For those who waited with bated breath for the Governor’s proposed 2018-19 budget, the big question was: How would the Governor deal with shifting and uncertain federal policy when drafting a budget for the world’s sixth largest economy? The answer: With caution.
One of the areas of great uncertainty lies with the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and federal funding for Medicaid. Although congressional Republicans were unsuccessful in their attempts to repeal the ACA, they successfully took steps towards destabilizing and dismantling the ACA last year. Most notably, the new federal tax law repealed the individual mandate requiring every person to have health insurance. Additionally, in order to finance tax cuts to wealthy Americans and corporations, congressional leaders plan to cut almost $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and Medicare over the next ten years.
Amid the questions, the Governor proceeded with caution – assuming the continuation of federal policies while emphasizing the uncertainty of the future. The Governor’s proposed budget includes $101.5 billion for Medi-Cal in 2018-19; two-thirds, or $67.1 billion, of which is projected to come from federal funds. Additionally, the Governor’s proposed budget estimates that revenues from the tobacco tax, which went into effect on April 1, 2017, will generate $1.3 billion and allocates the most of the funds to Medi-Cal.
The Governor’s proposed budget is just the beginning of the conversation, or as our partners at the California Budget & Policy Center say, the first bite of the apple. The California Legislature comes next and many things can change between now and June. Will Congress cut funding for Medicaid, Medicare, and other critical public supports and services? How will the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate affect insurance markets and premiums? Should they come to pass, what will these changes mean for the state budget and how will that affect communities?
To explore these questions and more, join us on February 15, 2018 for There’s a Hole in My Budget: What’s the Governor Covering and What’s Left Out?
For an excellent overview of the Governor’s proposed budget, please visit the California Budget & Policy Center’s First Look.