Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Women and Children First

The governor’s proposed budget cuts give new meaning to “women and children first”— first out of the safety net that is.

Yesterday, the California Budget Project (CBP) issued a series of reports analyzing the governor’s proposed budget cuts. And, not surprisingly, they found that the burden of these cuts falls most heavily on the women and children of this great state.

One report found that women comprise more than three out of five adults enrolled in our primary safety net programs. Over 77.7% of adult CalWORKS recipients are women and women comprise 92.5% of single parents who receive cash assistance. 57.3% of SSI/SSP recipients are women. And, 63.5% of Californians receiving in-home supportive services are women and girls.

Another CBP report notes that Medi-Cal is an important source of health coverage for low-income women and their families. Nearly 2/3 of adult enrollees are women and more than half of those women are in their peak reproductive years. Nine out of 10 single parents enrolled in Medi-Cal are women. Women, who usually have lower incomes than men, are more likely to forego medical services or become financially destitute because of medical costs.

The governor’s budget proposals would roll back a 2008 rate increase for family planning services provided through Family PACT. His proposed cut of $15.4 million would cause the state to lose $73.4 million in federal funds. Every dollar the State of California invests in family planning gets $9 in federal funds! In addition, a recent report from U.C. San Francisco found that every dollar spent on the Family PACT program saves California $9.25 by reducing medical and social services costs associated with unintended pregnancies. Add it all up and the total loss to California in one year exceeds $200 million. And most of this loss would be born by female Californians.

The governor also proposes eliminating state funding for Adult Day Health Care. On paper the state would save $134.7 million but we would also lose $216 million in federal funds. Furthermore, 37,000 Medi-Cal recipients would lose access to critical services and likely end up in nursing care, which is nearly 5 times more expensive to the state.

Governor, the numbers don’t add up. Not only are your proposed budget cuts morally bankrupt, they are fiscally foolish.