Uninsured

Hundreds Gather at Capitol to Support #Health4All

On Monday morning, hundreds of health and immigrant rights advocates convened on the steps of the Capitol to rally in support of “Health For All,” press legislators to pass bills like SB 10 (Lara) and SB 1418 (Lara), and celebrate the historic first day of expanding comprehensive Medi-Cal to undocumented children in California. The “Health4All” rally and lobby day was on the same day of the implementation of “Health4All Kids,” a measure allowing all low-income children, regardless of immigration status, to enroll in full-scope Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid). Starting May 16, all income-eligible children have access to comprehensive, zero-cost or low-cost Medi-Cal benefits, including dental and mental health coverage as well as the full array of health benefits. Advocates also […] Read More

#Health4All Continues to Gain Momentum

Last Tuesday, the Assembly Health Committee voted on SB 10 (Lara), which expands health care coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status, by authorizing the state to apply for a federal waiver that would allow undocumented immigrants to buy coverage through Covered California using their own money. Consumer and immigrant advocates showed their strong support for SB 10, testifying in support of this important bill and submitting letters of support. Advocates have been working for expanding access to quality, affordable health care coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigrant status. SB 10 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Health4All Conference and Lobby Day Join Health4All’s Conference & Lobby Day on May 15-16. The conference will take place at Sacramento State on […] Read More

Health Access, Advocates Ramp Up Campaign to Educate Undocumented Families about Medi-Cal

Last week, Health Access California helped kick-off efforts to educate undocumented families about enrolling in Medi-Cal leading up to the May implementation date, working with The California Endowment, the California Immigrant Policy Center, the California Primary Care Association, and others. This week, Senator Ricardo Lara, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, introduced legislation sponsored by Health Access, that would ensure that undocumented children who are currently covered by the Kaiser Permanente Child Health Program and who are eligible for Medi-Cal can maintain their Kaiser coverage to avoid interruptions in coverage and access to care. Last year’s historic enactment of Health4All Kids (SB 4 Lara and AB 75 of 2015) allows all low-income California children regardless of immigration status to enroll in Medi-Cal. SB 997 […] 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

Obamacare in the Ballot Box: Quick Take on Kentucky Governor’s Race from California

Heading into last Tuesday’s mid-term election, there was plenty at stake for the future of health reform (HBO’s John Oliver tried to warn us), particularly in states that have refused or have yet to decide whether to implement the optional Medicaid expansion—or had decided, like Kentucky, to opt in, not because the political winds were blowing in that direction, but thanks to Governor Steve Beshear’s bold executive order. In view of Kentucky’s many successes on the ACA—the second largest drop in uninsured residents, a robust state-based exchange, and its distinction as the only southeastern state to opt in to Medicaid expansion—Tea Party Republican Matt Bevin’s gubernatorial win last Tuesday on an anti-Obamacare, anti-Medicaid expansion platform came as something of a shock, […] Read More

DHCS & CMS Agree to Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver Framework!

This past Saturday (Halloween), the California Department of Health Care Services announced it had reached a new “conceptual agreement” with the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on the general framework of “Medi-Cal 2020,” the renewal of the 2010-2015 Medi-Cal waiver. Toplines With details to be specified in the coming months, the framework is likely to spur innovation in California counties with respect to delivery system reforms, care for the uninsured, and “whole person care” or integration of health care services with other human services. The current five-year “Bridge to Reform” waiver, which expired on Halloween, is extended through December 31, 2015. Once the new waiver is finalized, it would start in January 2016, and consumer groups should be ready […] Read More

DHCS Stakeholder Advisory Committee October 14, 2015: Highlights for Consumer Advocates

Update on MCO (Managed Care Organization) Tax DHCS Director Jennifer Kent opened with an update on the MCO tax and the need to revise it to meet new federal guidelines to broaden the base to all health plans (learn more here).  Last Spring, the Governor called a special session to resolve this and related Medicaid financing issues—but the Legislature was not able during the regular session to strike a deal, as many had hoped. The Special Session will continue through the winter. Elizabeth Landsberg of Western Center on Law and Poverty noted the handful of Medi-Cal bills vetoed by Gov. Brown, as “collateral damage for the MCO tax.” “It’s poor people who pay the price” for delayed action on the MCO tax,” added […] Read More

Gearing Up for November 1 Open Enrollment

With only three weeks to go until Covered California’s next open enrollment (November 1-January 31), today’s meeting of the Marketing, Outreach, and Enrollment Assistance Advisory Committee was packed with helpful information about Covered California’s research-driven strategies to maximize enrollment, especially in communities of color, and to help enrollees find their way into the best plan. Many of the strategies are informed by survey results on enrollee experience in 2014-15. Complete survey results should be released in tomorrow’s Covered CA Board Meeting. Highlights Marketing Strategies for Nov. 1: Building the Brand, While Showing Value of Insurance Current marketing strategies respond to survey results showing that many California consumers are aware of Covered CA, but many still are unfamiliar with the value of insurance. […] Read More

Contra Costa Cares: Board of Supervisors Vote 4-1 to Create Primary Care Program for Remaining Uninsured

Earlier today the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to authorize a new $1 million pilot program to extend primary health care services for an estimated 3,000 adult immigrants, including undocumented Contra Costa residents. The care will be provided through county-based clinics, serving approximately one-fifth of uninsured adults in need of the services. The Contra Costa Cares program is a modest start, focusing on primary care rather than specialty care. Nonetheless it will provide real help for individual patients and real momentum for the notion that our health system is stronger when everyone is included. Under the program, enrollees would receive an insurance card and be assigned into a primary care medical home for care that includes immunizations, lab work, prescription […] Read More

Key Patient Protections Pass Legislature, Now On Governor’s Desk

With the California Legislature adjourning after midnight last Saturday, most of the action on priority bills for health consumers moves to the Governor’s desk. Most of the Heath Access-sponsored bills protecting consumers from unfair out-of-pocket costs are now one Governor’s signature away from enactment. There were disappointments in the final days of this year’s legislative activity, including the lack of action on a range of revenue and tobacco control measures in the special session. Health Access’ consumer protection proposal AB 533 (Bonta), to halt surprise bills, failed on a vote of 38-10—just 3 votes short of passage. Overall, though, many important patient protections passed in a productive session advancing health reform. Even if a bill makes it to the Governor’s desk and even […] Read More