2023 Care4all California Agenda for Health Reform Announced

Ten CA proposals unveiled today that will get California a more universal, affordable, and equitable health system

SACRAMENTO, CA – On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, dozens of health care advocates gathered with legislative champions at the State Capitol today to highlight key health bills in the 2023 legislative session. The ten bills featured as part of the #Care4AllCA campaign will work together to get California a more universal, affordable, and equitable health care system.

If passed, these proposals would make meaningful impact on many parts of the health care system and benefit millions of Californians. This year’s Care4All California agenda builds on the state’s efforts to improve upon the Affordable Care Act, with bills to eliminate deductibles and lower copays in Covered California, while also taking the first steps to opening up our state’s exchange to all regardless of immigration status. It also continues to tackle head-on the sky-rocketing cost of health care, with efforts to block the anti-competitive behavior of major health systems, like Sutter, which led to a major lawsuit a few years ago, and increase price transparency. Patients will also be protected from surprise ambulance bills, closing a key gap in current law.

The package of bills also goes further than ever to address health inequities, from ensuring everyone has access to necessary medical equipment, to removing barriers in our mental health system for young adults.

“Californians are struggling with health care costs, access, quality, and equity, and these proposals will provide them the urgent help they need now,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, the group that convenes the coalition. “With the vision of universal health care as our goal, this Care4All California package are sequential steps we can take quickly to improve the health and financial well-being of our communities.”

Those in attendance included Assemblymembers Pilar Schiavo, Joaquin Arambula, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Wendy Carrillo, Liz Ortega, and Freddie Rodriguez, joined with community groups representing the over 70 organizations as part of the Care4AllCA coalition.

The event was livestreamed on Health Access’ Facebook Page.

The bills announced today as part of the 2023 #Care4AllCA campaign include:

Covering all Californians and Improving Affordability Toward Universal Coverage

  • AB 4 (Arambula): Remove Barriers to Covered California Based on Immigration Status, Toward #Health4All.
  • AB 1208 (Schiavo): Cost-Sharing Affordability in Covered California.

Improving Health Care Equity and Addressing Disparities

  • AB 1157 (Ortega): Access to Durable Medical Equipment.
  • AB 608 (Schiavo): Comprehensive Perinatal Services in Medi-Cal.
  • AB 665 (Carrillo): Minor Consent to Mental Health Services.
  • SB 238 (Wiener): Automatic Review of Health Plan Denials of Child & Youth Mental Health Services.

Protecting Consumers and Containing Health Care Costs

  • AB 716 (Boerner Horvath): Ending Surprise Ground Ambulance Billing.
  • AB 1091 (Wood): Oversight of Health Care Mergers and Monopoly Prevention.
  • AB 1092 (Wood): DMHC Health Plan Merger Oversight.
  • AB 616 (Rodriguez): Medical Group Financial Transparency Act.

“It’s critical that our youth have access to the mental health care they need. AB 665 removes barriers in California’s mental health system that prevent youth in low-income households – particularly LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color – from accessing care. California leaders can support young people in building healthy lives and strong connections by passing this bill,” said Gabriella Barbosa, Managing Director of Policy at The Children’s Partnership.

“Western Center on Law and Poverty is proud to Co-Sponsor AB 1157 (Ortega) which would clarify that durable medical equipment is a covered essential health benefit in California-regulated health plans,” said Sandra O. Poole, Policy Advocate with Western Center on Law & Poverty. “Despite the Affordable Care Act’s clear mandate otherwise, private plans regularly exclude coverage for items such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and oxygen tanks. These medically necessary devices are essential for basic functions such as mobility, breathing and communication.  AB 1157 would address this inequity and allow people with disabilities to maintain their health, pursue education and employment and participate fully in community life.”

“The last few years have highlighted the importance of our children’s mental health. We’re at a critical juncture- we can continue to ignore their needs or put into place the safeguards that ensure they can get the care they deserve. SB 238 will provide those safeguards, resulting in more kids getting crucial services,” said Lishaun Francis, Senior Director for Behavioral Health at Children Now.