Prescription Drugs

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

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

Federal Build Back Better Framework Includes Major Health Investments, Falls Short on Prescription Drug & Medicare Reform

Today President Biden announced a federal framework for the Build Back Better proposal that includes historic investments to help Californians afford their health care, but does not include key proposals around prescription drug price reform and expanding Medicare dental and vision benefits. The framework includes the continued expansion of financial help in Covered California, providing annual assistance of hundreds or, for many, thousands of dollars to 1.4 million enrollees—help that is especially urgent in our high cost-of-living state. The health of millions of Californians would benefit from this assistance to afford coverage, have Medicare covering hearing aids, and other investments in home care, child care, and much more. We are deeply disappointed that despite a broad popular support to have […] 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

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

Governor Newsom Signs AB 824 to Lower Prescription Drug Costs in First Health Care Bill Signing Event

California Governor Gavin Newsom today signed the biggest prescription drug price bill of the year, intended to lower prescription drug prices for California consumers by hundreds of millions of dollars a year. During the first-ever health care bill signing event under the new Administration, Newsom signed AB 824, authored by Assemblymember Wood and sponsored by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to deter harmful “pay-for-delay” practices by pharmaceutical and generic drug manufacturers. Health Access was proud to join Governor Newsom for the bill’s signing, along with many of the health, consumer, senior, labor, and other groups that supported the bill throughout the legislative session, which together overcame well-financed opposition from prescription drug companies which sought to weaken the legislation.With Governor Newsom’s signing of AB […] Read More

In a Win for Consumers, AG Becerra Announces $70 Million Pay-For-Delay Settlement

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced four settlements totaling nearly $70 million in payments against pharmaceutical companies for participating in harmful “pay-for-delay” deals that keep lower-priced generic medications off the market for longer, reducing competition and arbitrarily keeping life-saving medications more expensive for consumers.  According to the AG, this is the largest settlement of this kind received by any state in the nation. These settlements are also the first time any state has secured an injunction against future pay-for-delay agreements. This announcement highlights the need for AB 824 by Assemblymember Jim Wood, which would help to deter many of these deals from occurring in the first place, and bring relief faster. AB 824 has already received strong support from […] Read More

On 100th Day, Governor Newsom Announces New Partner on Prescription Drug Purchasing Pool

On his 100th day in office, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with Los Angeles County on prescription drug purchasing, putting together the power of the country’s biggest state and county for the biggest discounts and lower prices needed for medications. The State of California and Los Angeles County buy drugs for similar purposes and populations and can leverage their power against the price-gouging of the pharmaceutical companies. Consumer groups see a lot of great potential in this new purchasing pool proposal savings for these state and county programs and the public in general. Californians now have a bigger leverage to get better deals. The biggest state and the biggest county in the nation should be able to get bigger […] Read More

Legislation to Deter ‘Pay for Delay’ Agreements Passes Key Judiciary Committee

A first-of-its-kind state legislation to prevent “pay-for-delay” pharmaceutical company pricing practices passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee today with bipartisan support. The California bill seeks to prevent brand name drug manufacturers offering patent settlements to pay generic companies to delay the introduction of lower-price medication to the market. The bill, AB 824 authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood and sponsored by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, curbs this practice that reduces competition and arbitrarily keeps life-saving medications more expensive. These collusive agreements harm consumers. A 2010 study by the Federal Trade Commissioner concluded that these collusive pay-for-delay agreements cost consumers $3.5 billion each year in higher costs for prescription drugs. This means Californians would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year if […] Read More