This Election Vote to Protect Your Health

Together, we have made major progress this year to advance health reform, with Congress passing the Inflation Reduction Act that lowered health care premiums, and finally standing up to Big Pharma, giving Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. This election will decide if we keep building on that momentum–or go backwards. We must continue to elect Congressional leaders that put people over profits, and ensure the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Those that voted for the Inflation Reduction Act helped prevent premium spikes for Covered California enrollees by an average of $1000/year, and lowered out-of-pocket costs for Californians on Medicare. For the first time ever, it allowed for the federal government to negotiate drug […] Read More

Major Health Care Consumer Wins this #CALeg and #CABudget Session

With the Governor’s final actions on bills last week, health consumer advocates applauded a major year in health reform, where California continued its leadership on health care access, affordability, and equity. Californians will see both short and long-term benefits from the bills and budget items adopted by Governor Newsom and the state legislature this year While advocates were disappointed in some missed opportunities to help Californians better afford health coverage, they highlighted many of the concrete steps taken this year to improve our health care system. Here’s a round-up of actions from the 2022 legislative and budget session that will affect millions of Californians: IMPROVING MEDI-CAL ACCESSIBLITY AND EQUITY: #Health4All: The state budget signed in June of this year makes the […] Read More

Deductibles to Spike for Majority of Covered California Enrollees in 2023

Hundreds of thousands of Californians with Covered California health plans will see their co-pays go up and deductibles rise by over one thousand dollars next year, as a result of Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of SB 944 by Senator Pan, and Covered California’s board action following the veto. SB 944 sought to lower cost-sharing in Covered California, including eliminating deductibles in silver plans. In a year of rising costs, Californians are crying out for affordability help. With that in mind, the state Legislature allocated $304 million in state funds to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs for hundreds of thousands of Californians. Covered California and health plans have been ready to go to enact the cost-sharing plan. But with the Governor’s […] Read More

#CALeg Passes Bills to Better Connect Californians to Health Coverage!

The California Legislature has recently passed a number of bills that will help keep Californians covered and better connect them to their care options. Yesterday, the California Legislature passed SB 644 (Leyva) to make sure Californians filing for unemployment insurance, and likely losing not just their job but their health benefits, are connected to Covered California and their options for health plans and affordability assistance. The two-year bill, sponsored by Health Access California, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, would have California’s Employment Development Department share contacts with Covered California for follow-up. It received bipartisan support and now goes to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature by the end of September. In America, health care […] Read More

The Inflation Reduction Act is SIGNED!

President Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant advancement in addressing health care costs since the Affordable Care Act. The law will lower prescription drug prices by allowing the government to negotiate prices, while also capping out-of-pocket and insulin costs in Medicare. It also prevents pricey premium spikes for 1.5 million enrollees in Covered California. On August 12th, in a divided, party-line vote, all 42 California Democrats voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, and all 11 California Republicans voted against it. President Biden signing this law means millions of seniors in Medicare get a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug spending, and another cap for insulin of $35 a month. Beyond the policy win of giving Medicare […] Read More

What would the federal Inflation Reduction Act mean for Californian’s health?

This week, the U.S. Congress is poised to vote on a much anticipated package of health and other reforms that will provide both immediate and long-term relief from rising health plan premiums and prescription drug prices. In addition to notable climate change and tax policy provisions, the Inflation Reduction Act represents the most impactful federal legislation on health costs since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. With the Inflation Reduction Act, California will get real relief from inflated health plan premiums and prescription drug prices. It reforms that patient advocates have sought for years, if not decades, including: It extends significant subsidies to 1.7 million enrollees in Covered California health plans, limiting their premiums to no more than 8.5% […] Read More

Covered California 2023 Rates Announced–But Congressional Action Matters More

After three years of record-low premium rate increases of around one percent, Covered California, the state’s health care insurance marketplace, today announced 2023 rates, including a new health plan option, and an average increase of 6% for 2.3 million enrollees in the California individual insurance market, including the record-high 1.7 million in Covered California. While these increases are lower than the national average due to Covered California’s role actively negotiating rates, we as consumer advocates want to highlight that the actual premiums that nearly all enrollees experience will be impacted much more by the decisions in Congress in the next few weeks. In 2021 and 2022, virtually all Covered California consumers saw significant reductions in their premiums, thanks to additional […] Read More

New #CABudget Deal Extends Major Help to Afford Health Care to Millions of Californians

The Governor and Legislature announced a final deal on the California state budget late yesterday, including some major investments in a variety of health and human services. We greatly appreciate that this state budget deal includes crucial commitments to improve health care access and affordability for Californians, providing real relief to many immediately, with the potential to eventually help all Californians with the cost of coverage and care. Here are some highlights: OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY: Years in the making, a new Office of Health Care Affordability will take time to set up, but has real potential to prevent ever inflating health care prices for all Californians, regardless if they get coverage through an employer, public program, or individually. […] Read More

Responding to the Supreme Court Overturning Roe V. Wade, at the State and Federal Level

We share the anger of majority of Americans about the Supreme Court of overturning a 50-year precedent and the constitutional right to access critical health care services. Abortion is health care.  We know we stand with our allies and millions to ensure safe access to needed care, including reproductive health services, at the state *and* federal level. We are proud that California is taking steps to ensure access to abortion and reproductive health services, including for low-income, uninsured, and others who need it most, even as we continue the long and ongoing federal fight.  We urge Californians to continue to take advantage of abortion services, which are protected and covered in all state-regulated health plans.  We appreciate our California agencies […] Read More

These Key CA Health Care Bills Passed the Floor This Week

The California State Senate and Assembly held their floor sessions this week, with the opportunity to vote on major health care legislation to increase accountability in our health care system and improve health access for consumers. AB 2080 by Assemblymember Wood strengthens oversight on for-profit hospital and health industry mergers to ensure they are in the public interest and SB 858 by Senator Scott Wiener which updates penalty amounts that the state can levy on health plans that don’t meet consumer protection standards. Both passed this week and head to the opposite house for next steps. ADDRESSING HEALTH INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION Research shows health care consolidation is one of the major drivers of increasing health care costs. Health prices in California have less […] Read More