California Governor Gavin Newsom Released May Revise Which Takes Steps on Health Affordability–But Legislature Should Do More

Governor Gavin Newsom released his May Revision of a $300 billion state budget, which continues to propose major steps to expand health care coverage, and included some new investment to ensure Californians keep the coverage as the public health emergency unwinds. Building on these proposals and given the urgent needs, health and community advocates urged the Legislature to take quicker and additional steps to address health affordability. We appreciate Governor Newsom’s continued commitments to significantly improve health care access and affordability, and we urge the Legislature to seek more relief sooner to help California families stressed by health care costs. The focus on health care affordability is welcome and urgent, and under this budget, California has the opportunity to provide […] Read More

#Health4All: Empezando el 1 de mayo de 2022, adultos indocumentados y mayores de 50 años ahora pueden inscribirse para Medi-Cal!

¿Sabían que empezando el 1 de mayo de 2022, más californianos serán elegibles para Medi-Cal completo? Independiente de su estado migratorio, todos los californianos que califican con sus ingresos pueden inscribirse para Medi-Cal completo sin costo alguno.  Todavía hay mucho trabajo que hacer para lograr Health4All, pero este es un gran paso hacia la cobertura médica universal en California. Nuestro estado es más fuerte cuando todos son saludables y tienen cobertura médica. Nuestro sistema de cuidado de salud es mejor y más equitativo cuando promovemos el bienestar de todas las familias y comunidades en California. ¿Es indocumentado, tiene 50 años o mas, y necesita ayuda aplicando para Medi-Cal? Si puede cumplir con los requisitos de elegibilidad, puede aplicar empezando en […] Read More

#Health4All: Medi-Cal’s Older Adult Enrollment Starts May 1, 2022!

En Español Did you know starting May 1, 2022 more Californians qualify for Medi-Cal?  Now, all income-eligible Californians ages 50 and over, regardless of immigration status will be able to enroll in comprehensive coverage through Medi-Cal! There is still a lot of work left to do to achieve Health4All, but this is a major step towards universal health care coverage in California. Our state is stronger when everyone is covered and healthy. Our health care system is better and more equitable when we promote the well-being of all California families and communities.  Are you 50 years or older, undocumented, and need to apply for Medi-Cal? If you meet eligibility requirements you can apply starting May 1.  Apply online at https://www.coveredca.com/  […] Read More

Twelve Years of the ACA in California

A Look Back at the Dozen Years of Implementing & Improving the Affordable Care Act, and More in CA The last decade+ in California was built on two major events, which shaped the years ahead: The re-emergence of a major budget crisis in California in 2009. That year, major budget cuts triggered 10% provider rate cuts, and the elimination of dental and other benefits in Medi-Cal—benefits that took ten years to be restored. The passage and enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, with leadership from President Obama, and many California Congressional leaders (including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, key committee chairs Waxman, Miller, and Stark, and many others). Since then, California’s actions to implement and improve upon […] Read More

CA Health Committee Chairs Intro Bills to Increase Affordability in CoveredCA

New state legislation introduced this week would fill key affordability gaps in Covered California, potentially lowering cost-sharing and eliminating deductibles for over a million Californians getting coverage through the state marketplace. AB 1878 by Assemblymember Dr. Jim Wood, and SB 944 by Senator Dr. Richard Pan, both sponsored by Health Access California would remove financial barriers to care for hundreds of thousands of patients, and encourage even more Californians to sign up for coverage. Without such help, low- and middle-income Californians face counterproductive out-of-pocket costs that are financially unfeasible. High cost-sharing, especially deductibles, lead people who have coverage to avoid needed care, or face debt for seeking care, and keeps some people from purchasing care at all. Those who earn just over $2,000 […] Read More

2021 Year In Review: Major CA Health Reforms to Last Even Beyond the Pandemic

Despite the ongoing challenges through the pandemic, this was a major year of health reform in California. Health Access was proud to champion and collaborate on a number of historic investments in the state budget and reforms through legislation in 2021—victories that provided new coverage to hundreds of thousands, and new financial assistance to many more, while working to make health plans and the health system more accountable for quality and equity. These reforms will not only benefit Californians immediately, but create lasting change that will be felt even beyond the pandemic.  RESPONDING TO THE PANDEMIC The ongoing public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced our advocacy in a number of ways this year. Health Access was an […] Read More

Health Access 2021 Scorecard Reveals Health Consumer Champions

Health Access’s new 2021 Legislative Scorecard highlights key bills supported by health care consumer advocates in the 2021 legislative session. Several of the bills listed sought to respond to the problems of the pandemic, which highlighted the gaps and inequities in our health care system, from lack of access to care, to the resulting economic hardships faced by millions of California families which put health costs at odds with many other needs. In the face of this, with the support of health advocates and state Legislators, California was able to make great progress towards universal, affordable, and equitable health care coverage for many more Californians. Check out the 2021 scorecard to see how your state representative voted on key bills to […] Read More

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