California Home Health Care Protests Heat Up As Budget Deadline Draws Near
The outcome of protests led by California home health care workers and consumers will be known Friday as the industry awaits a final budget decision after weeks of signing petitions, carrying banners, and leading chants at the state capitol.
Home health care workers and consumers continue to make their presence known by vocalizing their dispute with Governor Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) and his plan to cut $225 million from the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) budget.
IHSS workers began protesting last week against the governor’s proposed 7% reduction of care hours for IHSS workers and cuts in the program’s budget.
Ten protesters who stood with locked arms outside the entrance to Brown’s office were arrested by California Highway Patrol officers Tuesday upon their refusal to move, according to an Associated Press report.
“Hundreds of supporters chanted ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, these budget cuts have got to go,’ as each arrested person was led away,” according to the AP report.
The 7% cut in hours for IHSS workers would ultimately lead to an $800 million funding loss for In-Home programs, writes a Los Angeles Times article published Tuesday.
Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced an alternative solution to the governor’s proposed cuts. His bill, SB 1503, would emphasize in-home services as the consumer’s first option. The bill also seeks to maintain cost effectiveness for the consumer and put control of hiring and firing of the home care provider in the consumer’s hands.
A campaign called “Healthy at Home” made up of home care workers and consumers continues to promote Steinberg’s bill and in-home care through their protests at the capitol. The outcome of their efforts will be seen Friday, as Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee is confident the budget will pass on time.
“The Legislature will pass not only an on-time budget on Friday, but it will be balanced and it will be honest,” Leno said in the AP report. “There will be no additional borrowing beyond that which the governor has already proposed. And there will be no gimmicks.”
IHSS budget cuts and the reduction of care hours are part of a larger plan Brown has for recovering from a nearly $16 billion state deficit according to the AP report. Additional areas affected by proposed cuts include the welfare program, child care services, and the Cal Grants program.
Written by Erin Hegarty