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February 4, 2021 - This handout highlights California's major nutrition access programs, related federal and state actions in response to COVID-19, and the Governor's CalFresh-related proposals in the 2021-22 budget.
February 3, 2021 - In this post, we provide important background on California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), updates on how caseload has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and analyze the Governor’s proposed CalWORKs budget. In short, caseload has declined precipitously in the most recent data, reaching a new all-time low in November 2020 (the most recent month for which there are data). This runs contrary to both the Governor’s budget (which assumes a fairly rapid rate of caseload growth from 2020 through 2022) and the historic relationship between caseload and economic data (which suggests caseload should increase following increased unemployment). In line with other efforts the administration is proposing to support low-income individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest the Legislature work with the administration to understand the factors leading to the lower than expected caseload and explore options for ensuring CalWORKs assistance reaches eligible families.
February 2, 2021 - This is the first in a series of several posts estimating the percentage of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)-eligible individuals who actually enroll in the program—otherwise known as the CalWORKs take-up rate. In this post, we introduce our methodology for estimating the number of families eligible for CalWORKs since 2005 and compare this to the number who actually enrolled. In future posts, we plan to examine how this take-up rate varies between different regions in the state, as well as possible reasons why it varies regionally and has changed over time.
February 2, 2021 - This post discusses 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposals for the State Controller’s Office and the California Department of Human Resources to continue planning a replacement for the state’s current payroll system—the proposed California State Payroll System information technology project.
December 8, 2020 - In this post, we describe our most recent forecast for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program costs and discuss recent caseload trends. With this post we intend to provide information but do not include any explicit recommendations to the Legislature. This post is part of our 2021-2022 Fiscal Outlook series of publications.
November 18, 2020 - Medi‑Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, provides health care coverage to about 13 million of the state’s low‑income residents. Medi‑Cal costs generally are shared between the federal and state governments. In a typical year, the General Fund covers a little more than 20 percent of total Medi‑Cal costs, with federal funds and other state and local funds respectively covering the remaining 65 percent and 15 percent of total costs. In this web post, we describe the major factors that we expect to drive changes in General Fund spending in Medi‑Cal over the near term—in 2020‑21 and 2021‑22—and over the longer term through 2024‑25. We also describe a number of key assumptions that we made in our spending projections.
November 17, 2020 - Senate Committee on Human Services
November 5, 2020 - This post provides a high-level summary of state and federal funds provided to date to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this post we discuss: (1) the authorities, at both the state and federal levels, for COVID-19 spending; (2) the state, federal, and other funding sources for COVID-19 spending; and (3) the amounts of COVID-19 spending authorized so far, organized by different purposes and program areas.
Updated 11/12/20: State and federal government spending on certain activities to control the spread of COVID-19 revised upward to $8.6 billion.
October 23, 2020 - This post summarizes the state’s 2020-21 spending package for major human services programs. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.
October 21, 2020 - Senate Health Committee
October 15, 2020 - From the General Fund, the 2020-21 spending plan provides $26.7 billion for health programs—an increase of 3 percent over estimated 2019-20 General Fund spending for these programs. The year-over-year net increase in General Fund spending is largely due to the projected COVID-19-related increase in the Medi-Cal caseload. The post describes major health-related actions (both policy actions and various budget adjustments) adopted by the Legislature as part of its 2020-21 spending plan. These actions include the offsetting of what would otherwise be General Fund costs with (1) revenues from the federally approved reauthorized tax on managed care organizations and (2) federal Medicaid funds that are being provided to the state at an enhanced level during the term of the public health emergency.
September 21, 2020 - This Budget and Policy post is intended to notify the Legislature of the federal government’s recent decision to withdraw the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR), proposed in 2019. If finalized as proposed, MFAR could have resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in non-General Fund funding for Medi-Cal on annual basis. Withdrawal of the regulation means that a major, near-term state fiscal risk has been averted.
June 9, 2020 - In this post, we (1) explain the differences between the Governor’s January and May Revision budget estimates for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS); (2) describe the administration’s IHSS caseload, hours per case, and hourly wage projections; (3) compare the May Revision monthly estimates for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) costs in IHSS to April 2020 actuals; (4) recommend a downward adjustment of at least a $20 million General Fund in 2019-20 to reflect lower-than-estimated utilization and cost of IHSS COVID-19-related response efforts in April 2020; and (5) recommend the Legislature request actual May 2020 utilization data to determine whether additional adjustments to COVID-19 cost estimates are warranted for May 2020 and possibly June 2020.
June 2, 2020 - The 2020-21 May Revision projects California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) caseload to reach historic highs in response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and subsequent public health emergency. In this post, we describe this projection, assess it in light of recent data and historical trends, and recommend an alternative set of assumptions.