Legislation

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

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

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

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

Another Low Covered California Rate Increase for 2022

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