Protesting Budget Cuts

May 28, 2009 7:07:53 AM PDT
Two bus loads of the Valley's disabled community traveled to Sacramento Wednesday, where they pleaded with legislators to spare them from any additional cuts. They're among the thousands of people in Fresno County who stand to lose their healthcare and the money they depend on just to get by.Judith Chappell has a hard time getting around because of her disability. Still, she traveled to the state capital Wednesday, where she and thousands of others protested cuts to Medi-Cal and the in-home support services they rely on. "When we're told that we're equal ... well, we're not being treated as equal. I'm too young to go to a rest home. I can function in all other ways," said Chappell.

The state's disabled aren't the only ones who are feeling the pinch. The California Budget Project estimates that 1.9 million Californians stand to lose health care benefits and insurance. That includes 942,000 children who would lose their health insurance through Healthy Families. That's 23,000 children in Fresno County. "That's so many children that count on this insurance, their families count on it. How many kids are not gong to be able to go to the doctor when they get sick?" said parent Desiree Irby. Irby's two children have been insured through Healthy Kids and Healthy Families for about two years.

The governor has also proposed completely eliminating the state's welfare to work program known as CalWORKS to save $1.3 billion dollars. That would impact 28,000 families in Fresno County who get grants averaging about $530 dollars a month. The deputy director of the county's Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance questions whether cuts can be made without providing other alternatives. "It doesn't seem very reasonable to move forward with a savings plan, that you don't have an option for the people that are being served with the program," said deputy director Steven Rodriguez.

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