Responding to the Supreme Court Overturning Roe V. Wade, at the State and Federal Level

We share the anger of majority of Americans about the Supreme Court of overturning a 50-year precedent and the constitutional right to access critical health care services. Abortion is health care.  We know we stand with our allies and millions to ensure safe access to needed care, including reproductive health services, at the state *and* federal level. We are proud that California is taking steps to ensure access to abortion and reproductive health services, including for low-income, uninsured, and others who need it most, even as we continue the long and ongoing federal fight.  We urge Californians to continue to take advantage of abortion services, which are protected and covered in all state-regulated health plans.  We appreciate our California agencies […] Read More

California Governor Gavin Newsom Released May Revise Which Takes Steps on Health Affordability–But Legislature Should Do More

Governor Gavin Newsom released his May Revision of a $300 billion state budget, which continues to propose major steps to expand health care coverage, and included some new investment to ensure Californians keep the coverage as the public health emergency unwinds. Building on these proposals and given the urgent needs, health and community advocates urged the Legislature to take quicker and additional steps to address health affordability. We appreciate Governor Newsom’s continued commitments to significantly improve health care access and affordability, and we urge the Legislature to seek more relief sooner to help California families stressed by health care costs. The focus on health care affordability is welcome and urgent, and under this budget, California has the opportunity to provide […] Read More

In Loving Memory: Wilma Chan

We at Health Access California are shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, a friend and former Assemblymember and chair of the Assembly Health Committee. A champion on health care and so much more, she was smart and savvy, wonky and wise, principled and pragmatic. She was our author for many righteous fights for coverage expansion and consumer protection, including the Hospital Fair Pricing Act, which saved uninsured and uninsured patients from having to pay inflated hospital charges multiple times what insurers or Medicare pay. She was hit by a car when walking her beloved dog Maggie, and appropriately rushed to Highland, the county hospital she championed. She had big plans and had so much […] 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

Top Health Care Leaders Announce Broad, Diverse Coalition in Support of Governor’s New Office of Health Care Affordability

A large and unlikely coalition of health care stakeholders has come together to announce their support of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan for a new Office of Health Care Affordability, leading up to the proposal’s first hearings in the Assembly & Senate Budget Subcommittees on Health & Human Services this week. As Californians face an affordability crisis on many fronts, the new proposed Office is a bold, far-reaching effort to address the rising cost of care that is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of workers’ wages and family finances, forcing many people to skip or ration their care. This new Office would put in place a comprehensive strategy to contain health care costs, setting targets for affordability with accountability, and […] Read More

New Bills Aim to Lower Costs and Improve Affordability Assistance in Covered California

This week, California legislators announced two new bills to help more Californians struggling to afford health care coverage for themselves or their family. AB 2347 by Assemblymember Wood, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and SB 65 by Senator Pan, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. These bills provide new investments to enhance federal and state subsides in Covered California and will continue to lower premiums and help many low-income Californians who still face barriers to care due to costs, particularly through copays and deductibles. While no additional Covered California affordability assistance has been included in Governor Newsom’s current 2020-2021 budget, these legislative bills would provide needed financial relief to many Californians who still find it difficult to afford their health care coverage in […] Read More

CoveredCA Increase in Enrollment Numbers Due in Large Part to Enhanced Subsides and Individual Mandate

Yesterday, Covered California released new enrollment numbers, detailing an overall enrollment of 1,539,000 for 2020 which includes 418,000 new enrollees. This represents a 41% increase over 2019 due in large part to new state subsides enacted this year along with the new requirement to have coverage. To encourage even greater enrollment, Covered California also announced a new special enrollment period, going through April 30th, for those that did not know about the new subsides or the tax penalty for not having health coverage. Health consumer advocates urge the Legislature and the Governor to build on these successes and further reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the new year in order to get our state closer to the goal of universal […] Read More

New CHCF Poll: Increasing Number of Californians Struggle to Pay for Health Care and Over Half Have Delayed Due to Cost

The California Health Care Foundation has released a new poll showing that Californians are increasingly worried about the rising cost of health care, and want the state to take action. The poll, which surveyed a representative sample of Californians, also found that over half of Californians have postponed or skipped care due to cost. Results from the survey are also compared to a 2019 CHCF poll on the same topics to identify emerging trends. Specifically, more than eight in 10 or 84% Californians think addressing health care affordability should be an extremely or very important priority for the Governor and Legislature in 2020. Just over half of Californians or 51%  skipped or postponed physical or mental health care due to cost. […] Read More

Remembering Beth Abbott, Deluxe Patient Advocate

We at Health Access, along with the wider California Capitol community and nationwide health care policy and consumer advocacy community, were saddened to hear yesterday that our dear colleague and friend Beth Abbott passed away this weekend. Beth served as the Director of Administrative Advocacy at Health Access California for nearly nine years, after a long and distinguished career in federal service, including as Regional Administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. She left us when she was appointed by Governor Brown to direct the Office of the Patient Advocate. She retired (again) a few years ago, but was still active in the community. She was scheduled to be re-appointed to the Yolo County Health Council today; instead, the […] Read More

New California Budget Takes Key Step to Expand Access and Increase Affordability in Health Care

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom officially unveiled his 2020-2021 State Budget, which includes major new investments in access to health coverage and to lower health care costs. The 2020-2021 $222 billion state budget ($153 billion general fund), includes first-in-the-nation investments towards universal coverage and cost containment. The budget also includes ambitious efforts to prevent inflated health care prices for public programs, private payers, and patients overall, such as a new Office of Health Care Affordability, specific initiatives on prescription drug prices and more. The budget also includes improvements and expanded services in Medi-Cal, and the next step towards #Health4All by expanding access to Medi-Cal for all income-eligible seniors age 65 and over, regardless of immigration status. This expansion will help tens […] Read More