Budget Conference Committee Closes Out on Health Issues

The Budget Conference Committee met this afternoon to take final action on items on the health agenda. Health advocates were pleased the actions taken to restore some benefits, improve provider rates, extend coverage to undocumented kids and lay the groundwork for covering adults, and invest in critical public health programs. The actions taken today represent agreements between the Senate and the Assembly only, and not with the Governor. Legislative leaders will be in conversation with the Governor in the coming days. The deadline to pass a state budget is Monday, June 15.

See our previous blog post for details about health items on the Conference Committee Agenda.

  • Full restoration of adult dental benefits: The Conference Committee voted to restore adult dental benefits, effective January 1, 2016.
  • Medi-Cal coverage regardless of immigration status: The Conference Committee approved $40 million to cover kids and adopted placeholder budget bill language to research capped enrollment for adults.
  • AB 97 provider rate reductions: Conference Committee adopted a compromise where dental provider rates will be restored effective July 1, 2015 ($15M GF) and rates for all other providers will be restored effective April 1, 2016 ($21.6M GF). The retroactive recoupment for DP-SNFs will be forgiven.
  • Medi-Cal Dental Anesthesia Rate: The Conference Committee approved funding to bring rate parity between dental and medical anesthesia.
  • Lifelong Community Clinic Extended Urgent Care: The Conference Committee voted to allocate one-time funding of $2M from special funds to help Lifelong Community Clinic to run an urgent care clinic to serve communities affected by the closure of Doctors Hospital in West Contra Costa County.
  • Investments in Public Health Programs. The Conference Committee approved funding for the following public health programs: Hepatitis C (HCV) Linkage to Care Projects ($2M), Dental Disease Prevention Program ($3.2M), Hepatitis C (HCV) Rapid Testing Kits ($600,000), and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Access and Outreach Program ($2.2M).

The Budget Conference Committee previously voted to restore six Medi-Cal benefits (such as podiatry and speech therapy), and adopt $33.1 million ($27.8 million GF) funding for covering immigrants newly eligible for Medi-Cal due to the President’s Executive Action on Immigration. The Committee also adopted the LAO assumption of a 24-month phase-in of this coverage and the associated reduction in budget year costs ($11M GF). 

We will provide updates in the coming days as they become available.