In response to The Governor’s May Revision, which calls for redistributing hundreds of millions of dollars in health care realignment funding that counties currently use to provide care for medically indigent adults and for essential public health services we all rely on, the California State Association of Counties issued the following statement:

“We appreciate that the Governor’s May Revision Budget recognizes that Medi-Cal expansion on January 1, 2014 is an important goal, and that any redistribution of funds should be based on actual savings generated by the ACA rather than an arbitrary number,” said David Finigan, President of CSAC and Del Norte County Supervisor. “Unfortunately under the formula outlined today, the money will be taken too soon and the ‘true up’ formula will come too late. In the meantime, people depending on local health care safety net services will suffer.”

“Under this proposal, it is actually the state that would be paid twice,” said Finigan. “The federal government has pledged to pay 100% of the costs of insuring this new population for the first three years, so redirecting county funding right away is duplicative and unnecessary.”

“While we support a partnership with the state, we should take advantage of the first three years of full federal funding under the ACA to collect and analyze the actual data so we know how much counties will save and how much they will continue to spend caring for the remaining uninsured,” said CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate. “Federal health care reform is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the healthcare system for all in California, not just maintain the status quo.”

“Furthermore, the proposal to redirect $300 million in the first year is too aggressive,” said Cate. “Redirecting too much health care funding will force counties to cut into the safety net services they provide today, including trauma care, emergency services, burn care, and public health programs.”

The May revise also proposes a realignment of human services programs to counties. “We are simply not in a position right now to take on more programs, responsibilities and risk, especially when our health care systems are also undergoing dramatic changes,” said Finigan.

“We have been and remain good partners with this administration,” said Cate. “And I am hopeful that as we continue working with the Governor, his staff and Legislature we can come to an agreement that is both fiscally responsible and fulfills the promise of the Affordable Care Act.”