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California Family Caregivers On The Budget Chopping Block

June 5, 2009

California's caregivers are now on the budget chopping block. Faced with a $24-billion state deficit, the governor wants part of his budget cuts to include in-home supportive services for all but the most-severely disabled. That’s on top of plans to cut the wages of caregivers and reduce Medi-Cal coverage.

Doug Moore, executive director of UDW Homecare Providers Union, says, not only does the in-home program bring in millions of dollars of federal revenue, it also saves taxpayers hundreds of millions each year by keeping the most-vulnerable people out of nursing homes. They cost five-times more, he says.

"They’re people like my dad, who has Alzheimer's; they’re disabled children who can’t take care of themselves. Newborn to the elderly, the most-frail in our community receive these services and the ones who can least afford it."

All the burden shouldn’t be put on the low-income, adds Moore.

"Yes, we need to look real hard and everybody needs to take responsibility for where we are, but I think as leaders they need to do more than just look at how much money is being spent on IHSS. That’s a lot of money. They’re not looking at the value."

The governor acknowledges the cuts are hard, but says the state must cut spending or it won’t be able to pay its bills starting in July.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA