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Communities of Color Hit Hardest by Proposed Budget Cuts

For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 5, 2012

Communities of Color Hit Hardest by Proposed Budget Cuts

Plan Shows Need for Revenues to Save Public Programs

OAKLAND, Calif. – California’s two-third vote requirement and an unwillingness on the part of a handful of legislators to compromise on a revenue package, is once again to blame for a harsh 2012-13 budget package that hits communities of color the hardest. The proposal continues to slash funding for basic health and human services programs including Medi-Cal and CalWORKs, California’s primary work support program, which are relied on by millions in these hard economic times. 

“These cuts will once again disproportionately impact communities of color who make up 85% of those earning less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Level,” said Ellen Wu, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “We can’t keep cutting programs like Medi-Cal which cover millions of Californians, without further eroding our health care infrastructure.”

“The proposed cuts will only increase disparities in access to care for our communities,” agreed Kathy Lim Ko, President and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). “Even with all of the gains we stand to make under health reform, significant disparities still exist amongst the Asian and Pacific Islander populations. These types of proposals will only exacerbate those differences.”

“Once again, the proposed budget balances the deficit on the backs of our most vulnerable communities,” said B. Darcel Lee, Executive Director of the California Black Health Network (CBHN). “The number of uninsured in California grew to 7 million last year. At a time when so many families are struggling to make ends meet, we can’t afford to take away basic support programs for working families.”

“This budget is based on the assumption that Californians, who support our public education system, will vote for higher taxes in November,” explained Chad Silva, Policy Director at the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “Latinos have been hard hit by the economic downturn, but I think we understand that without new revenues, our communities will suffer.”

“California has the fourth largest prison system in the world yet we rank 48th in education,” said James Allen Crouch, Executive Director of the California Rural Indian Health Board. “If we value education, if we value health care, we have to renew our commitment to funding the public structures that make California great.”

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The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

The California Black Health Network (CBHN) advocates for policies and programs that will improve the health status of people of African descent in California.

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) works to eliminate health disparities by advocating for public policies and sufficient resources to address the health needs of communities of color.

The California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB), Inc. is devoted to the needs and interests of the Indians of Rural California.

The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is committed to initiating and advancing policies that will increase access to health services and build healthy Latino communities in California.