Governor Brown today signed legislation to better fund hospitals and children’s coverage, helping to plug a potential holes in the California budget, especially in the state’s Healthy Families program, our state child health insurance program.
Both measures draw down more federal funds into California, by taxing certain health industries to come up with the state matching funds–but the industries agree, since it is to their benefit (as well as patients and California’s health system as a whole) to have these services better funded.
Here’s the Governor’s signing letter on SB335 and AB x1 21. From the release:
The Governor signed SB 335 by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). This law will provide additional funds to hospitals and protect health care services for low-income, vulnerable patients and children by extending the Hospital Quality Insurance Fee. SB 335 will raise $7 billion in revenue, bring in an additional $6.1 billion in new federal funds and will save the state’s General Fund more than $850 million over a 30-month period. This amounts to over $500 million more in savings to the State General Fund than previously estimated.
Governor Brown also signed ABX1 21 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys), which extends a tax on Medi-Cal managed health care plans for an additional year. This law will help maintain health coverage for thousands of children and teenagers through the Healthy Families Program. It will raise more than $200 million in new revenue, bring in an additional $300 million in federal funds, and save the General Fund $103 million this year.
While these are largely extensions of policies put in place in the last few years, they remain key budget solutions that are preferable to the cuts that have been proposed.