Legislation

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

CA Assembly Health Committee Passes AB 1130 to Contain Inflated Health Care Costs

On April 6th, the California Assembly Health Committee passed AB 1130 by Assemblymember Jim Wood on a 12-0 bipartisan vote. The bill will implement a statewide Office of Health Care Affordability, a new effort to address the rising cost of health care. As Californians face an affordability crisis on many fronts, the proposed Office is a bold, far-reaching effort to address inflated health care costs that are taking a bigger and bigger bite out of workers’ wages and family finances, forcing many people to skip or ration their care. This Office would put in place a comprehensive strategy to contain health care costs, setting targets for affordability with accountability, and drive innovation in payment and delivery of care while still […] Read More

Twenty Takeaways from 2020

Protecting Our Progress and Confronting the Challenges of COVID-19 Like most Californians, we had high hopes for progress in 2020. The year began in earnest with the implementation of expanded access and affordability to coverage for hundreds of thousands of Californians, and ambitious plans to increase health industry oversight to control costs, improve quality and equity, and win key patient protections. When the pandemic hit in March, Health Access doubled-down on our commitment to protect California consumers, adapting quickly to the many changes in our health system and in response to COVID-19. This meant pausing some of our larger-scale efforts in the short-term in order to fight for consumer protections and access to care during a pandemic-induced economic downturn and […] Read More

Despite Pandemic, Progress Continued on Health Care, Coverage, and Costs in California; Advocates Urge Governor Newsom Sign Key Access and Accountability Bills

The California Legislature ended a 2020 session marked by significant changes due to the COVID-19 crisis. While several high-profile health policy initiatives stalled in light of the pandemic and the economic emergency that caused a state budget deficit, the legislative year ended with key advances on health policy for California consumers. Despite the pandemic, progress was made on improving California health coverage, care, and costs during this COVID-19 impacted legislative session. Admittedly, we were disappointed that solutions stalled on surprise medical bills and health care consolidation, which are both major drivers of higher health costs, the Legislature passed several other health policy highlights. Patient advocates urge Governor Newsom to sign the bills on his desk to help Californian consumers, including […] Read More

Judge Denies Delay of Sutter Settlement, Shows Need for SB 977

Last week, a judge denied the delay of Sutter Health’s $575 million settlement with California Attorney General Becerra regarding unfair competition in Northern California. Health care consumers, employers, and all who pay premiums are glad that the judge denied this delay sought by Sutter Health. The current COVID-19 crisis only increases the urgency for Sutter to stop its anti-competitive practices that serve to inflate their prices, and otherwise abide by the $575 million settlement to which they previously committed. This settlement begins to attack the reason why inpatient rates are 70% higher in Northern California, and premiums are typically $3,000 more for coverage here than in Los Angeles. Now more than ever, Northern Californians need relief from the so-called Sutter […] Read More

Health Consumer Champions Revealed in New Health Access 2019 Legislative Scorecard

Looking back on a momentous year for California health care consumers, earlier this week Health Access California released its 2019 Legislative Scorecard highlighting key bills supported by health care consumer advocates in the 2019 legislative session. The report details how policymakers voted on key bills to protect patients, expand coverage, and increase oversight on insurers, the health industry, and prescription drug prices. Most of the twenty-two bills scored were also part of the #Care4AllCA campaign of over 70 health, consumer, community, labor, and business groups seeking a more affordable, accountable, and accessible health care system in California, with the goal of universal coverage in California. Forty-four legislators voted with health care consumers 100% of the time, with another 26 siding with consumers over 90% […] Read More