California Budget Impasse Could Affect Health Services
California's budget impasse -- the longest in state history -- could force health care providers across the state to stop services if an agreement is not reached soon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the state Legislature cannot agree upon a way to close a $17.2 billion gap. As of Monday, the state budget was 67 days late. According to the Chronicle, if a budget is not completed by the end of the month, facilities that depend upon state funds to operate -- including hospitals, clinics and homes for people with disabilities -- will have lost as much as $5.4 billion in state funds since July when payments were halted.
On Friday, a number of providers gathered outside of the state Capitol in Sacramento and said that they already have taken out loans, reached their credit card limits and even have used personal funds to keep their facilities open. Some providers are asking the lawmakers to adopt a Republican plan to declare a state of emergency and approve an emergency appropriations bill to fund the facilities.
State Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines said, "If we can't agree on a budget, we should be able to agree to take care of those who are in need," adding, "We should never hold innocent people hostage and use them as pressure to get the budget done." However, Schwarzenegger would rather complete the budget, according to a spokesperson.
The Chronicle also profiled several providers who are having financial difficulties because of the impasse (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/6).
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