California hospitals and other health service providers could
be forced to shut down if the state loses 1.9 billion dollars in
federal funding. That money comes through a program called the
Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP.
Conservative U.S. Senators are blocking that funding, which helps
pay for Medi-Cal. They say the federal deficit must be reduced
before more domestic spending is approved.
San Jose Democratic Assemblyman Jim Beall says if Congress fails to
fund the program, it would cause massive cuts to health
"There would be a huge gaping hole especially in community
clinics, public hospitals, emergency rooms," says Beall. "We
couldn't plug that hole with appropriations from other areas
because there's no money in the budget to play with."
To put pressure on the Congress, Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger joined 30 other Governors in Washington to lobby for
the funding. In a lengthy statement, Schwarzenegger says California
is being shortchanged by the federal government.
"Yet now," Schwarzenegger says, "They are not giving us money for
the services they're requiring us to provide. The federal
government cannot have it both ways; it can't require states to
preserve certain safety net programs and then cut the funding for
those programs when it is needed most."