Most of the health care bills the legislature approved are cost neutral to the state, and will eventually open the door for more Californians to be covered by health insurance. Meanwhile, Medi-Cal services, payments to clinics and other health services are expected to be substantially cut this session in the face of a 19 billion dollar budget deficit. Anthony Wright is with the consumer group Health Access. He says cutting services could undermine the new health care policies.
"Will the choices that we make in this budget to make severe cuts to our health and human services prevent us from ever getting to the promised land?," Wright asks. "You know, will we undermine the health care system so severely that we undermine our ability to take advantage of the benefits of the new federal health law?"
Legislative Democrats have vowed to avoid what they call draconian cuts to health care and other services. Republicans, led by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, say the spending reductions are needed to balance the budget.