Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gov's Campaign Repeats Falsehood About 1E


Gov's Campaign Repeats Falsehood About Prop. 1E

Medi-Cal Program for Children Not At Risk, Prop. 1E Opponents Say

SACRAMENTO, March 4 - Opponents of Prop. 1E today demanded changes in the language used to describe the measure on the website of a campaign funded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and business groups.

“The 'yes on everything' campaign is creating a false sense of crisis around children's health care to promote Prop. 1E,” said Dave Fratello, campaign manager for No on Prop. 1E. “It is cruel and cynical to suggest to voters that they must choose between funding mental health care and children's health.”

“Prop. 1E is about one thing,” said Fratello, “and one thing only: cutting mental health care programs demanded by the voters. The least we can demand from the governor and his team is an honest sales pitch.”

The website created by the governor's “California Dream Team” and allied business groups claims that Prop. 1E would move money from Proposition 63 mental health services to “children's health programs that are at risk of elimination due to the budget crisis.” (See

However, Prop. 1E opponents point out that there is no “risk of elimination” for the children's programs at issue. As the Legislative Analyst points out in a review of Prop. 1E, the Early and Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program mentioned in the text of Prop. 1E is a federally mandated program Medi-Cal program. Funding levels are not discretionary for the state; they are based on enrollment. The program cannot be eliminated without the state opting out completely from Medicaid.

“In fact,” Fratello said, “Prop. 1E will not fund or expand any children's health program. It cuts a half billion dollars from mental health care and dumps that money in the state general fund.”

The claims by the governor's campaign about Prop. 1E echo several points that were challenged last week in a lawsuit by Prop. 1E opponents. Mental health advocates say that ballot descriptions written by legislators give a false impression of Prop. 1E, characterizing the measure as one that would “preserve” and “guarantee” funding for EPSDT, when in fact those funds are assured regardless of the fate of Prop. 1E.

A hearing is set in that lawsuit for Thursday, March 5, at 8:45am, at Dept. 31 of the Sacramento Superior Court.