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

Prop 56 Health Advocates Deliver Giant Invoice from California Taxpayers to Big Tobacco

In the week leading up to the election, supporters of Proposition 56 rallied across the state to call on Big Tobacco to take responsibility for the $3.5 billion burden they place on the state’s Medi-Cal program. In events from the Central Valley to Southern California to Sacramento, health advocates spotlighted the cost of tobacco-related diseases–and how Prop 56 would reduce and recoup those costs. Prop 56 would add a $2 per pack user fee on cigarettes and raise the tax on other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Big Tobacco is entirely funding the opposition to Prop 56, claiming that it would go to “special interests,” when the money in fact goes to provide health services to low-income Californians across the state through Medi-Cal. […] Read More

Health Advocates Protest Big Tobacco’s Lies

Yesterday, Health Access California joined the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood, and other health and children’s advocacy groups to protect the tobacco industry’s lies about Prop 56, chanting outside the California lobbying offices of cigarette maker Altria. Outside of Big Tobacco’s front door, 5,600 toe tags were dumped in a Marlboro covered coffin that laid between scattered body bags surrounded by dozens of supporters with signs.  The crowd stood and chanted, “Shame on you,” in unison to call out Big Tobacco’s lies, and urge voters to vote YES on Prop. 56 on November 8th. Health Access supports this ballot initiative because it will save lives and money. In addition to tripling the […] Read More

New Health Access Report Details Dramatic Expansions in California’s County Health Care Safety-Net

Today, Health Access released a new report detailing the dramatic changes to California’s health care safety net programs at the county level. As the Affordable Care Act implementation has cut the number of uninsured Californians in half and the state has taken additional steps to cover all children, many California counties have extended their health care safety net programs to better serve the remaining uninsured. Counties have responded in various ways, from expanding coverage options to undocumented immigrants to providing new benefits to those already covered. A year ago, less than ten counties served undocumented Californians outside of the emergency room; on Monday, that number will expand to 47 counties. On Monday, more Californians in 35 of the state’s most […] Read More

Wonkery for Your Week

We wanted to spotlight two of the recent Health Wonk Reviews, a biweekly compendium of the best from the health policy blogosphere. Last week, Charles Gaba at (the best place to track Obamacare enrollment nationally) had a very California-heavy edition, with posts about Covered California’s quality initiatives, our death-with-dignity law, and our post about anti-tobacco activity. Also directly relevant to the current debate in the California legislature is a post from Louise Norris at Colorado Health Insurance Insider about the recent Florida legislation against surprise medical bills. The previous edition, David Williams at Health Business Blog featured our post on health plan mergers. Expect a new edition later this week by Jaan Sidorov at The Population Health Blog.

Tobacco-Prevention Initiatives: Saving Lives and Money

Did you know? Every year, nearly 40,000 Californians die needlessly from tobacco-related diseases. Big Tobacco lures 16,800 California children a year into this deadly addiction, most of them children of color. One out of every three kids who starts smoking will ultimately die as a direct result. The healthcare cost of tobacco use is $13 billion a year in California. Health Access is proud to be part of Save Lives California, which is working to pass life-saving, tobacco-prevention measures. Save Lives California is a strong coalition made up of the American Heart Association, American Lung Association in California and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, joined by doctors, dentists, nurses, patients, survivors, hospitals, health care workers, unions, and taxpayers that […] 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

Federal Officials Approve New “Medi-Cal 2020” Waiver Renewal

Earlier today the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) officially approved California’s “Medi-Cal 2020” waiver renewal for the next five years, providing new resources and new flexibility to deliver better care for the millions of low-income Californians who rely on Medi-Cal for their health coverage. The new waiver also includes support for a “smarter safety net” and innovative care solutions for the uninsured. The announcement comes one day before the extended deadline for final renewal. A waiver is a formal request by a state to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive specific Medicaid program requirements in order to test new ways to deliver care without spending more federal dollars than would otherwise be spent. Since […] Read More

Hearing on “Public Health Impacts of Tobacco Use in California: Problems and Solutions”

The Conference Committee on AB2X 1 (Bonta) and SB2X 2 (Ed Hernandez) held an Informational hearing to discuss the Public Health Impacts of Tobacco Use in California and Problems and Solutions on Thursday, December 17, 2015 in Oakland, California. There were close to 100 people in attendance, constituents and heads of community and state organizations, all in support of placing a tax on tobacco and the handful of other tobacco control measures that have been introduced in the Special Session. Members of the Committee included Co-Chairs, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Senator Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, who represents Oakland attended the hearing as well. Jim Knox, Vice President for Government Relations for the California […] Read More

Covered CA Board Meeting November 19, 2015: Highlights for Consumer Advocates

This week’s Covered California Board meeting, the last for 2015, focused on the Covered CA bus tour and related OE3 campaigns; early results from Open Enrollment 3 or OE3; how the Section 1332 waiver (an option within the Affordable Care Act to waive certain ACA provisions to demonstrate a new principle or model at the state level for how to achieve the same goals but through different means) stakeholder process will work and parameters for proposals; and the certification process and priorities for 2017 Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). Covered CA Bus Tour and Related OE3 Campaigns As noted by Covered CA director Peter Lee in his opening remarks, Covered CA’s marketing and advertising strategies are heavily guided by research and analytics—and […] Read More