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The effort for quality, affordable health care for all has a rich history. Health Access is proud to host these comprehensive electronic archives of key campaigns and moments.

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pdf Governor's Budget Continues Health Reform Implementation and Recession-Era Health & Human Services Cuts

The Governor's proposed budget for the 2015 - 16 fiscal year totals $113.3 billion in state general fund dollars , reflect ing a 1.7% increase from the current budget, and includes $47.2 billion for elementary and secondary education, $14.1 billion for higher education, $24 .1 billion for health, $7.8 billion for human services, and $10.2 billion for corrections.

pdf Medi-Cal Reform 2.0: Health Access Priorities for California's Next Medicaid Waiver

The coming renewal of California’s section 1115 research and demonstration Medicaid waiver and Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) presents a critical opportunity to build on the state’s success in implementing health reform and to tackle long standing issues in the state’s health care safety net.

pdf SB4 Health4All (Sen. Lara) - a Health Access Fact Sheet

Immigrants are an essential part of California’s economy, a key presence in our communities. They should therefore be fully included in our health care system. We all benefit when all Californians have access to primary and preventive care and affordable health care coverage. For this reason, Health Access California, together with a broad and diverse coalition, has made SB4 (Sen. Ricardo Lara) a top priority for the 2015 Legislative Session.

pdf Uninsured in the Emergency Room

Even before the economic recession started in 2007, there were over six million uninsured Californians. Since then, at least 500,000 Californians have become uninsured by virtue of losing their jobs. Without health insurance coverage, emergency rooms are sometimes the only access to medical services a person has. Under existing law, all of California’s more than 300 hospital emergency departments are required to stabilize any patient presenting themselves with a medical emergency, regardless of their income or ability to pay. In 2007, the uninsured accounted for about 16 percent of all emergency department visits (or about 1.7 million visits).

pdf Health Consumer Bills in the 2013 Legislative Session 10-14-13

SBX1 1 Steinberg/ Hernandez ABX1 1 Speaker Perez MEDI-CAL EXPANSION AND SIMPLIFICATION: Expands Medi-Cal eligibility in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, effective January 1, 2014; streamlines eligibility and enrollment processes to reducing barriers to enrollment such as the assets test while expanding coverage to over 1 million Californians. STRONG SUPPORT

pdf California Implementing and Improving the ACA Individual Insurance Reform

In 2010-13, California Governors signed key bills to put in place key consumer protections in the private insurance market to help facilitate the smooth implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California. The urgency of implementing health reform helped lead to the enactment of key state bills to establish a comprehensive definition of essential health benefits, align consumer protection standards between regulators, and move toward greater standardization of plans to provide better security for consumers and reduce the possibility of adverse selection.

pdf California Implementing and Improving the ACA Expanding Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act promises to offer new health care options to millions of Californians, including over 1 million low-income Californians through the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, also called Medi-Cal. Under the ACA and new enacted legislation in California, ABx1 1 (Perez) and SB x1 1 (Hernandez/Steinberg), reforms to the eligibility and enrollment processes will simplify and streamline Medi-Cal to make it easier to get enrolled and stay enrolled. Ultimately, California adopted a package that transforms the Medi-Cal program into health coverage for low-income Californians, with broad eligibility based on income, not assets.

document Health Reform 201 Expanded Presentation Sept-2013

The health reform law doesn’t do all that is needed, but it is historic Congressional action in three areas of focus: Provides new consumer protections to prevent the worst insurance industry abuses Biggest reform of insurance practices ever: no denials for pre-existing conditions; no rescissions; no lifetime/annual caps on coverage; etc 2) Ensures security for those with coverage, and new and affordable options for those without coverage Biggest expansion of coverage in 45 years; Would bring US from 85% to 95% coverage. Expansion of Medicaid and a new exchange, with affordability tax credits so premiums are tied to income, not how sick we are. 3) Begins to control health care costs, for our families and our government. Multiple efforts to ensure quality & reduce cost Biggest deficit reduction measure in a generation. Big investments in prevention, with unbooked savings

pdf Remaining Uninsured Joint Statement

California has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to expand health insurance to millions with a successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but also to ensure that *every* Californian—including those left uninsured—has basic access to care and coverage. With existing health care resources, we have the opportunity to ensure at least safety-net care and coverage for *all* Californians, including the remaining uninsured, but only if we safeguard funds for the county safety net, put in place the right incentives, and use our funds efficiently, effectively, with transparency and accountability. Decisions made in the next few weeks could fulfill this goal and vision, or could lock out our fellow Californians from coverage and let current Low-Income Health Programs expire. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity this year to get this right, and to continue our commitment to care for all Californians.

pdf Continuing California's Commitment to the Remaining Uninsured

With the historic expansion of new coverage, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of uninsured by half to two‐thirds—but as many as 3 to 4 million Californians will be left uninsured. The majority of the remaining uninsured will be citizens or legal residents, who will be disproportionately Latino, African American, and Asian‐Pacific Islander. Some will not be eligible due to income or immigration status, for missing open enrollment periods, or due to other gaps in the law. This concept paper provides a framework on how to continue California’s commitment to the remaining uninsured as the ACA is implemented, preserving our state’s safety net of public hospitals, community clinics, and other key health providers, in a transparent, accountable,and fiscally responsible way.

pdf Three Years of the Affordable Care Act Counting the Benefits Countdown to Coverage

In the three and a half years since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the law has seen dozens of legislative challenges; judicial challenges leading all the way up to the Supreme Court; and political challenges, including a presidential campaign between two candidates with starkly different positions on whether to move forward with reform. But the Affordable Care Act survived it all. These high profile fights have obscured the real work of implementing the law to ensure consumers and the health care system reap the full benefits of the law, especially in California. In fact, millions are already taking advantage of new benefits and consumer protections, and more options are forthcoming with full implementation in 2014.

pdf What Governor Brown’s 2013-14 Proposed Budget Means for Health Care in California

THE GOOD NEWS: NO DEFICIT, NO CUTS: On January 10, 2013 Governor Jerry Brown announced the first budget in many years that projects no deficit. Thanks to Governor Brown’s leadership and the voters of California, Prop 30 prevented cuts to education and other vital services by providing needed revenues to balance the billions in budget cuts made last year and previously. So, for the first time in many years, the budget did not proposed multi-billion cuts to health care or other vital services. Governor Brown also endorsed California's implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and made the historic commitment for the state to go ahead with the ACA's Medi-Cal expansion to 1.4 million low-income Californians, bringing in $2-4 billion in federal funds into our health system.

pdf Year in Review for California Health Care Looking Back and Ahead to 2013

If 2010 was the year the Affordable Care Act was passed, 2012 is the year it became real. With the Supreme Court decision and the election results, the question is not whether Obamacare will be implemented, but how. NO MORE EXCUSES: The legal and political obstacles that existed fell away this year. The Supreme Court's decision was dramatic in its presentation, on the last possible day of its term − but also in its impact. While many organizations drafted press releases for different outcomes, any other decision to strike down part or all of the law would have been stunning, resulting in upending years of planning and policy work, not to mention the lives of millions.

pdf Health Access 25th Anniversary Program Summary

Health Access California is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, advocating for the goal of quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Health Access Foundation undertakes coalition organizing, public education, applied research, and policy analysis and advocacy, to advance reforms to benefit California's health care consumers, both insured and uninsured. Together, Health Access works to expand coverage, protect consumers, ensure quality care, guarantee affordability and security, and promote health and wellness.

pdf Implementing and Improving Health Reform 2012 Legislation

AB 1453 Monning SB 951 Hernandez ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS: Protects consumers from underinsurance and junk insurance by requiring that health plans and health insurers cover a set of minimum essential health benefits. The bills set the minimum floor for benefits to be equivalent to the Kaiser small group HMO.

pdf Analysis PROP 31 - Bad for California’s Health Makes a Bad Budget Process Worse

Proposition 31 seeks to make significant changes in California’s governance and budget processes, but undermines transparency, makes the budget process more complex and convoluted, and weakens the ability of state government to invest in the future and set clear standards and meet key goals. Prop 31 would jeopardize funding for the state’s health care programs, putting the health of many of Californians at risk. Prop 31 may be well-intended, but is a mix of flawed provisions, that would result in more harm that good.

pdf Implementing the Affordable Care Act's Insurance Reforms

Guaranteed Issue and Guaranteed Renewal • State regulators and lawmakers and HHS should: o Establish standardized annual open enrollment periods for the fully insured individual market outside of the exchange that coincide with the annual open enrollment periods held by the exchanges and are sufficiently long to allow people to understand their options and obligations. o Mandate an initial open enrollment period for the fully insured individual market outside of the exchange that lasts at least six months and is consistent with the initial open enrollment period of the exchange from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

pdf California Coverage Now Includes Maternity Care

As of July 1, 2012, California requires that all health insurance plans, including in the individual and small group markets, include maternity service as a covered benefit. This key consumer protection will help new mothers get the maternity coverage they need, which will provide a healthier start to their children, financial security for their families, savings for taxpayers, equity for women, and benefits for society into the future. THE NEED FOR NEW RULES ON MATERNITY While maternity care is obviously vital to life, in the past few years, insurers have relegated maternity coverage to a rarely-offered benefit. While large group health insurance plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) include maternity coverage, private individual plans and small group plans increasingly did not, and prior to July 2012, they were not required to provide coverage for maternity-related expenses. In 2004, 82% of plans included maternity coverage while in 2010, only 12% did. In some parts of the state, it is less than 1%. When women can get By contrast, at least 50% of health plans cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction remedies, a stark gender inequality.

pdf What Happens to California Health Reform Laws if ACA is Repealed

The Supreme Court should and will uphold the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Even if the Courts strike down a provision, the rest of the Act would go forward. But in the extreme and unlikely scenario that the Act is struck down entirely, a few of the state-sponsored implementation laws would remain. But many of the main consumer protections and benefits--even those passed in California--would be at risk.

pdf Final 2012-13 California Budget Includes Harmful Cuts to Health Care

The new 2012-13 California state budget proposal attempts to solve a $16 billion deficit. Half of the budget solution to the deficit is $8 billion in additional budget cuts (a majority in health and human services, including over $1 billion in Medi-Cal alone). Nearly $6 billion in tax revenues, making up 35% of the Governor's budget solutions, would result from a proposed ballot measure pending approval by the voters in November 2012. If voters do not approve those taxes, then billions of dollars in cuts to education and public safety would be triggered. The health cuts further deteriorate the health care safety net, California health system has already seen major reductions in recent years, from the elimination of dental and other benefits in Medi-Cal, to direct cuts to doctors, clinics, and hospitals. The cuts come in an economic downturn when these safety-net programs are even more in demand and when the state is attempting to get ready for health reform. As a result of these widespread cuts, the impacts will be felt widely through the state, to anybody who might visit an emergency room or health facility, as well as for children in Healthy Families and, seniors and people with disabilities in Medi-Cal. Cuts to health and human services impact not just low-income California families, but our economy, and our health system on which we all rely.

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Our Mission

Founded in 1987, Health Access is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition advocating for quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Our agenda includes:

  • Expanding Coverage: Implementing and improving upon health reform.
  • Fighting for a Fair Budget for the Future: Protecting public investments to preserve access to care.
  • Protecting Consumers: Ensuring consumer representation and protection.

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Sacramento, CA 95814
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