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

Nomination of Tom Price as HHS Secretary Signals Threat to Medicare, Not Just Obamacare

On Tuesday, Health Access California reacted to President-elect Trump’s nomination of Representative Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright made this statement following the announcement: “This nomination signals the new President-elect’s plans to undo the guarantees of not just Obamacare, but Medicare and Medicaid as well. Despite President-elect Trump’s promises to protect Medicare, his choice for HHS Secretary would end traditional Medicare, privatizing it into a voucher program that will cover some, but not all, of the cost of coverage.” “In the primary campaign, the President-elect made a point of breaking with other Republican candidates in talking about universal health care and protecting Medicare; now, this pick suggest he will go along […] Read More

DHCS Stakeholder Advisory Committee Digs Deeper into Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver, SB 75 Implementation (Health4Kids), and Other Care Transformation Initiatives

This blog was written by Tam M. Ma (Policy Counsel) and Judi Hilman (Director of Special Projects) DHCS held its quarterly Stakeholder Advisory Committee today, the first time since California’s Medi-Cal 2020 waiver was approved at the end of December, covering a range of topics, including the waiver renewal, SB 75 implementation of Health for Kids, and other Medi-Cal care transformation initiatives. Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver Details from the Special Terms and Conditions Medi-Cal Director Mari Cantwell provided an overview of the new waiver (See our earlier blog overview of the new waiver) and an update on implementation efforts. The Medi-Cal 2020 waiver provides more than $6.2 billion in new federal funding through programs that shift the focus away from hospital-based […] Read More

Medi-Cal and Medicare Turn 50–With Much To Celebrate & Room for Improvement

As we celebrate how much help Americans have gotten from Medicare and Medicaid after 50 years, including the many improvements to both programs from the Affordable Care Act, we are reminded of the work left to do. In particular, we need to close the gaps in both programs to cover the remaining uninsured. Building on the success of Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA, California can make more progress toward the goal of health for all with bills like SB4 and SB10, while strengthening the health care system on which we all rely. Medi-Cal’s Central Role in California Covering more than 12 million Californians, nearly one-third of the state population, Medi-Cal is a critical pillar of California’s health care system.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, […] Read More

To Celebrate the SCOTUS Decision: LGBT Health Roundtable with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell

In tribute to today’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of full marriage equality for LGBT Americans, Health Access presents this report from Kate Burch, Network Director for the California LGBT HHS Network. Health Access joins with many others in celebrating today’s historic ruling, even as we are mindful of the work still needed to ensure better and more equitable health and health care for all LGBT Americans. Last Friday, June 19, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell met with about 25 LGBT health advocates in Washington, DC to hear about the health care needs of LGBT communities around the country. After brief mention of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of addressing transgender health inequalities, Secretary Burwell opened up the […] Read More

President Obama’s Budget Proposal: What It Means for California

Even with a gridlocked, Republican-controlled Congress, federal budget advocacy will be important this year—no matter how busy we are with reform implementation at the state level. Here is Health Access’ quick take on some specific health elements of President Obama’s budget proposal, the first step in the months-long federal budget process. CHIP Re-authorization: The President’s budget includes a 4-year extension of the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There’s been significant turnover in Congress since CHIP’s passage, and that lack of knowledge and ownership by many elected representatives could hurt getting the renewal through. A looming threat in Senate Finance Committee, now chaired by Utah’s senior Senator Orrin Hatch, are the conditions that are contemplated as part of CHIP re-authorization. When CHIP was created in 1997 with broad bipartisan […] Read More

Health care in the crosshairs..

The Republican National Convention just adopted its platform, and health care issues are getting the most attention. The headlines are about a GOP platform that restricts abortions without exceptions; completely changes Medicare into a voucher program; and repeals the Affordable Care Act. The desire to repeal “Obamacare” is expected, but it’s striking how much the platform seeks to undo not just the ACA, but the guarantees in Medicare and Medicaid as well–and how much this is a dramatic departure from even four years ago. These are stark differences between the parties and their candidates, and this is truly the most consequential election for our health care system in our history. Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all […] Read More

Medicare math…

It’s been interesting to see the Presidential campaign turn into a debate about health policy. Not too long ago, it was assumed that neither candidates would talk about health care much–it has surprised some that the President has talked a lot in his speeches about the Affordable Care Act, and many assumed Governor Romney would want to steer clear of the subject, given his convoluted position of having passed health reform in Massachusetts but pledging to repeal it for the nation. But here we are, talking about health care–and specifically Medicare. With the pick of Paul Ryan, who is best know for his budget plan that would, as opponents say, “end Medicare as we know it,” Romney has now focused […] Read More

Tax Day Thoughts…

On tax day, we remember the saying by Oliver Wendell Holmes, that “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” Today, we joined other Sacramento leaders in front of the Federal building, to protest a decidedly uncivilized proposal–to give significant tax breaks to the richest among us, to cut and undermine core health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Of course, we are referring to the “Ryan budget,” the measure passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, with the support of several California Republican Congressmen, including Representative Dan Lungren. We were glad to be joined by a California millionaire affiliated with the national group Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group of millionaires […] Read More