Author: Health Access

Challenges and Opportunities with Congress Back in Session

Congress is back in session today. The good news is that there are bipartisan hearings scheduled, with testimony from a group of bipartisan Governors who last week released a series of recommendations for improving the ACA, including funding the cost-sharing reductions, reinsurance, fixing the family glitch, aggressive outreach and enrollment, and more. The bad news is that the Trump Administration is actually going in the opposite direction. Last week, HHS said that they would be scaling back marketing (by 90%!) and application assistance funding for the upcoming open enrollment period. Thankfully, Covered California raises its own marketing budget, so we have the will & wherewithal to withstand yet another attempt to sabotage the ACA here in our state. For example, […] Read More

CA’s Will & Wherewithal to Withstand Another Trump Attempts to Sabotage the ACA

Today, President Trump’s HHS Department announced that it will dramatically cut Affordable Care Act outreach and marketing efforts by 90% for 2018. The federal government plans to reduce advertising spending from $100 million to just $10 million, and reduce funding for navigator and enrollment assisters from $63 million to $36 million.   President Trump is seeking to sabotage the ACA with his own hand, first by injecting uncertainty into subsidy payments, shortening open enrollment, and now by deliberately and maliciously slashing funding for marketing and outreach efforts. These Trump attacks serve no purpose other than to discourage enrollment and thus increase premiums unnecessarily for those who are covered. Earlier this month, Covered California took action to withstand such attacks by […] Read More

#CABudget Deal Restores Medi-Cal Dental & Optical Benefits

This evening, California leaders announced agreement on many items in the state’s 2017-18 Budget, including key improvements in the Medi-Cal program. Health and consumer advocates praise the restoration of dental and optical benefits for the Medi-Cal program that covers over 14 million Californians–and urged additional investments using revenues raised from Proposition 56 tobacco tax approved by voters last year. In Budget Conference Committee, the Department of Finance and legislators stated that the use of Prop 56 dollars were still being negotiated, between the desire to make improvements and investment in the Medi-Cal program and the need for “fiscal prudence.” Our Health Access budget scorecard details the proposals in consideration. ON DENTAL & OPTICAL BENEFITS: But until the Prop 56 investments […] Read More

RIP Frances Gracechild

We at Health Access California were saddened to hear of the recent passing of our former board chair of five years, Frances Gracechild, a lifelong disability and senior rights advocate, who also served as executive director of Resources for Independent Living (RIL) in Sacramento since 1981. Her death at 71 years old was a surprise to many; her life was remembered in a touching post by Marty Omoto of the California Disability Community Action Network, and she had an impact to many at RIL, Health Access, and the broader advocacy community in Sacramento. Frances was incredibly welcoming and helpful to me when she was the chair of the Health Access board when I was first hired by the organization in 2001. She […] Read More

#CABudget Conference Committee Considers Medi-Cal Investments–Including #Health4All Young Adults, Denti-Cal, Other Restorations

A budget report from our policy advocate Myriam Valdez: Over the last week, the Budget Conference Committee met to begin resolving differences between the Senate and Assembly’s versions of the state budget. The committee is tackling issues including cap and trade, poverty alleviation, education. child care, and health care. In the meantime, the “Big Three”– the ProTem, Speaker and Governor — are meeting to finalize the state budget before the June 15th state constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget bill. On Saturday, the Conference Committee heard budget proposals for health and human services related issues, including proposals from Health Access and other consumer advocates, to use Proposition 56’s Medi-Cal monies to restore dental and other benefits, expand […] Read More

Legislative deadline week–from Prescription Drug Prices to Hospital Costs to Single-Payer

This week is deadline week in the state legislature, where bills need to be passed by Friday out of the house of origin in order to proceed for the year. Both the California Senate and Assembly are undergoing marathon sessions throughout the week to consider and vote on hundreds of bills. In health care, the bill that has gotten the most attention is the one that would be the most far-reaching by far if fully implemented–SB562 (Lara/Atkins), the Medicare for All bill that would set up a single-payer health system in California. Such a health reform would radically change the financing of California’s $400 billion health industry, and promises the benefits of universality, simplicity, lower costs through bulk purchasing, and […] Read More

New #CBOScore Shows Awful Cost and Coverage Impacts of #AHCA

New estimates released today by the Congressional Budget Office show that with the more recent amendments, the GOP’s American Health Care Act as passed in the House of Representatives would still leave 23 million more Americans uninsured within a decade, spiking premiums for million more, and undermine key patient protections on premiums and benefits. In California, these impacts would be especially severe, given our disproportionate population in both Medi-Cal and the individual insurance markets where funding would be cut. This analysis of the devastating and destructive impact of AHCA shows why the House GOP leadership rushed to get their fellow Republican Congressmembers–including all from California–to vote on this without knowing the cost and coverage impacts. They should have known how […] Read More