Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders called their budget deal Thursday a "conceptual agreement" for good reason.
With floor votes planned in three days, Brown officials and lawmakers are still filling out major details of cuts to welfare-to-work and health care for low-income children that will determine exactly how the budget will impact programs.
Since taking office, Brown has sought to eliminate Healthy Families, which provides low-cost care to 880,000 children in working poor households that lack health insurance. Brown has argued that all publicly insured patients should be in Medi-Cal as matter of efficiency and to eliminate the challenges patients face when switching between Medi-Cal and Healthy Families as their family income fluctuates.
But health advocates who say Healthy Families works well and affords better care than Medi-Cal have begun mobilizing against Brown's demand to move those 880,000 children out of Healthy Families. Behind closed doors, Brown officials and Democratic lawmakers are trying to appease health care interests caught off guard by the elimination altogether of Healthy Families after they presumed the state would only shift about 190,000 of those children.