California Health Consumers to Benefit as U.S. House Passes Build Back Better Bill

On Friday, November 19th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, with 42 California congressmembers voting to advance the historic legislation that would help lower health care costs and otherwise make investments to improve our health care system. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration, and would come back to the House for a concurrence vote before heading to President Biden for a signature. The bill passed by the House is the most significant step to lower health costs and expand coverage since the Affordable Care Act. Millions of Californians will benefit from lower health care premiums, more affordable prescription drugs, and enhanced Medicare benefits. The bill helps lower health care costs for Californians, […] Read More

In Loving Memory: Wilma Chan

We at Health Access California are shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, a friend and former Assemblymember and chair of the Assembly Health Committee. A champion on health care and so much more, she was smart and savvy, wonky and wise, principled and pragmatic. She was our author for many righteous fights for coverage expansion and consumer protection, including the Hospital Fair Pricing Act, which saved uninsured and uninsured patients from having to pay inflated hospital charges multiple times what insurers or Medicare pay. She was hit by a car when walking her beloved dog Maggie, and appropriately rushed to Highland, the county hospital she championed. She had big plans and had so much […] Read More

Federal Build Back Better Framework Includes Major Health Investments, Falls Short on Prescription Drug & Medicare Reform

Today President Biden announced a federal framework for the Build Back Better proposal that includes historic investments to help Californians afford their health care, but does not include key proposals around prescription drug price reform and expanding Medicare dental and vision benefits. The framework includes the continued expansion of financial help in Covered California, providing annual assistance of hundreds or, for many, thousands of dollars to 1.4 million enrollees—help that is especially urgent in our high cost-of-living state. The health of millions of Californians would benefit from this assistance to afford coverage, have Medicare covering hearing aids, and other investments in home care, child care, and much more. We are deeply disappointed that despite a broad popular support to have […] Read More

Beyond the Process and Timing of the Build Back Better act in Congress, New Factsheets Show What’s at stake for Californians’ Health

Health Access California today released new data on the statewide impacts of the proposed federal Build Back Better bill on California’s health care as Congress continues to negotiate a final deal. The new data includes how many Californians would benefit from improved Medicare benefits and extended ACA affordability assistance, and how much Californians might save from these and other reforms, including efforts to negotiate and lower prescription drug prices. You can find the statewide fact sheet here: Build Back Better: What’s at Stake for California’s Health. In a virtual event earlier today, Health Access, along with local central valley leaders and advocates, including Congressmember Jim Costa and also released data for the Central Valley: Build Back Better: What’s at Stake for Health […] Read More

2021 Recall Election: Our Health Is On The Ballot

This election will be highly consequential to our health, including the public health response to the pandemic, and the health care system that all Californians rely on—from the ability to get on and stay on Medi-Cal and Covered California, or affording the cost of prescription drugs and private health coverage. At stake in this election is our state’s progress towards universal, equitable, and affordable health care coverage, or if that progress may be stopped, or rolled back. In the last several years, California has made key improvements that could be threatened: We’ve seen the biggest drop of the uninsured rate of all 50 states, with more than 5 million Californians gaining affordable health care coverage, reducing racial disparities and coverage […] Read More

Another Low Rate Increase for 2022 Covered California Health Premiums New Federal & State Aid Means Even Lower Premiums for Most Covered California Consumers

Following a year that has seen the greatest investment in the Affordable Care Act since the law took effect, Covered California, the state’s health care insurance marketplace, today announced its third straight year of minimal premium rate increases. In fact, earlier this year, virtually all in Covered California saw reductions in their premiums through federal subsidies, which will continue in 2022. Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Biden Administration took action to increase subsides for those who purchase health care on their own via the marketplace, capping premiums to 8.5% of income across the board – and much lower for middle and lower income consumers. These actions, along with state affordability assistance, have significantly reduced costs for the nearly 1.6 million enrollees in Covered California, […] Read More

2021-22 CA Budget Takes Major Steps to a More Universal & Equitable Health Care System

The State Legislature passed the final 2021-2022 health budget bill (AB 133) that includes historic investments in expanding and improving health coverage for millions of Californians. It now goes to Governor Newsom for his final signature in the coming days. Many of the proposals included in this budget bill were key priorities of the Care4All California coalition of over 70 consumer, community, labor, progressive, and health care organizations working to advance the goal of quality affordable health care for all Californians as soon as possible. The coalition supported these investments which, working together, represent important steps to a more universal, equitable, and affordable health care system in California. These organizations pushed for key proposals to improve Medi-Cal and reduce health care disparities for low-income […] Read More

CA Governor & State Legislature Strike Budget Deal with Major Steps Towards a More Universal Health Care System

The state legislative leaders announced the outlines of a 2021-2022 budget agreement with Governor Newsom that includes funding for a more universal, equitable, and affordable, health care system. The final deal includes historic investments in our health system, including a first-in-the-nation end to the exclusion of income-eligible undocumented adults age 50 and over in Medi-Cal. #Health4All By opening up Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians age 50 and over regardless of immigration status, California is not just making our health system more universal and equitable, but stronger and more resilient for all of us. Especially after a pandemic, our health care system works better when anyone who calls California home can access comprehensive and preventative health care. So many of these immigrants have contributed over […] Read More

California Legislature Passes Their 2021 – 2022 Budget with Steps Towards A More Universal Health Care System. Deal On Final Budget Must Still Be Reached With Governor Newsom.

Yesterday, the California State Assembly and State Senate voted to pass a 2021-2022 state budget that includes funding for a more universal, equitable, and affordable, health care system. While the Legislature is in agreement on this version of the budget, negotiations continue with Governor Newsom on a final deal. On June 1, the state legislature announced a joint budget proposal that aligned on a number of key health care proposals, which is what was passed today. It includes historic investments in our health system, including a plan for the first-in-the-nation end to the exclusion of income-eligible undocumented adults age 50 and over in Medi-Cal. The Governor’s May Revision included a proposal to end this exclusion for those 60 and over. […] Read More

Major Effort to Contain Inflated Health Care Costs Passes CA Assembly – Office of Health Care Affordability

The California Assembly passed AB 1130 by Assemblymember Jim Wood, to implement a new statewide Office of Health Care Affordability, a bold effort to address the rising cost of health care. We’ve known for a long time that it’s the price of health care that’s the problem, not that people use more care. The inflated cost of care is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of workers’ wages and family finances, actually forcing many people to skip or ration their care. We cannot make health care more affordable for Californians unless we tackle the underlying cost of care, which would be the mission of this new Office of Health Care Affordability. The price of health care in the United […] Read More