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

Health and Community Groups Condemn Trump HHS Rule to Allow Discrimination by Health Providers; Urge California Regulators to Double Down on State Patient Protections

On Friday, Health and community advocates condemned the Trump Administration new rule to undermine the enforcement of the civil rights provision (Section 1557) of the Affordable Care Act, designed to protect patients from discrimination in health care. This rule is cruel and callous attempt to spread confusion and embolden health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate against LGBTQ, and in particular transgender and nonbinary, patients, women in need of reproductive services, persons with limited English Proficiency (LEP) and persons with disabilities. The timing of this rule – released during a pandemic that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people and people of color, during Pride month, and on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy –  is especially inhumane. Anticipating this ruling, […] Read More

Trump Launches New Attack on Our Care

The Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security has released a final rule penalizing lawfully present immigrants and their families for seeking needed health care. This harmful rule, which will go into effect on October 15th barring any legal action, will have major impacts across our entire health care system. This cruel attack isn’t just on immigrants, but our entire health care system leading to more uninsured, more people without primary and preventative care, more bad debt for hospitals and health providers, and less financially secure and healthy communities overall. This rule is a nightmare scenario for public health. Our health system is strongest when everyone has access to primary and preventative care, as well as the financial and emotional security […] Read More

New DOJ Position to Strike Down ACA in Full Puts The Health Coverage of Millions at Risk

The U.S. Justice Department filed a letter earlier this week indicating a major shift in position, agreeing with a December 2018 ruling by Judge Reed O’Conner in Texas vs. United States to strike the entirety of the Affordable Care (ACA), due to the supposed unconstitutionality of the individual mandate in the law and its inseparability from the ACA as a whole. California AG Xavier Becerra is leading the appeal, given the catastrophic impact in California on coverage and consumer protections. If the ACA were to be struck down, California would lose over $25 billion for our health system which is more than CA spends on higher education and prisons combined. It would also undo all pre-existing condition protections, as well as […] Read More

To Counter #TrumpSabotage, CA Legislature Must Pass Ban on Junk Insurance

Yesterday, the Trump Administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a final rule to extend the use of short-term health insurance plans from the current three-month span to a full year, with renewals for up to three years. You can’t much call them “short-term” anymore. Following this announcement, California consumer advocates are urging the passage of legislation to ban such substandard insurance from being sold in our state. SB 910, by Senator Ed Hernandez, would prevent this new, giant loophole that would allow insurers to deny people for pre-existing conditions, arbitrarily cap coverage, and otherwise undermine our individual insurance markets. These limited plans also target and siphon off younger, healthier people, destabilizing the individual insurance market and spiking premiums […] Read More

As the Trump Administration Seeks to Sabotage our Health Care System, California Takes Steps to Protect Consumers

On the heels of several efforts by the Trump Administration to circumvent the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and destabilize the health care system, California has advanced several measures to ensure that our state’s health system remains strong and key consumer protections remain intact. On June 26th, the California State Assembly’s Health Committee passed SB 1375 (Hernandez) and SB 1108 (Hernandez) which, along with AB 2499 (Arambula) and SB 910 (Hernandez) passed last week, will shield consumers from these sabotage efforts. Last week, the Department of Labor cleared the way for the expansion of “Association Health Plans” or “AHPs” and the federal government has been promoting the idea of lengthening the use of so-called “short-term” insurance plans […] Read More

New Federal Attacks on Our Health Care: Substandard AHP Coverage Rule and New Attempt to Repeal the ACA

Fresh federal attacks on our health care were announced today with the Department of Labor’s final rule to expand Association Health Plans, and a renewed congressional attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Both actions seek to destabilize our health care marketplace and will lead to increases in premiums for health consumers and the erosion of patient protections such as ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions are able to access care. California has taken many steps to shield consumers in our state from the brunt of these attacks, including legislation to prevent the sale of “junk” insurance to be heard in policy committees this week and next. The final rule released today by the Department of Labor clears the […] Read More

President Trump’s 136 Question Marks on Prescription Drug Prices

After multiple reschedules, President Donald Trump gave a speech last week on prescription drug prices, unveiling a plan to address the issue that was underwhelming–several noted that the plan had few specific actions, and in fact literally had 136 question marks. While President Trump prioritized lowering prescription drug prices during his campaign, while in office he has largely capitulated to Big Pharma on a number of occasions. President Trump promised to take on the pharmaceutical industry, but so far has done nothing but check items off their wish list. President Trump campaigned on negotiating down prescription drug prices, but so far only saw fit to offer corporate tax and regulatory giveaways to the PhRMA executives he met with last year. […] Read More

Health Access Statement of Solidarity

For 30 years, Health Access California has fought for the right of ALL Californians to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. Our work is grounded in our inclusive vision that we all benefit when everyone has access to needed care and coverage, regardless of how much money they have, where they are born, the color of their skin, their physical or mental abilities, their sexuality and gender identity, or the faith they practice. Our health is inextricably linked to the ability to live without fear of being deported or separated from your loved ones. If any Californians are scared to sign up for coverage or seek care, that leads to broader public health consequences. Allowing discrimination in any aspect of our […] Read More