Legislators and Advocates Unveil 2024 Care4all California Bills for Health Reform

Thirteen CA proposals announced today to get California to a more universal, accessible, and equitable health system, as soon as possible

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today health care advocates gathered with legislative champions at the State Capitol to highlight important health reform bills in the 2024 legislative session. The thirteen bills and budget items featured as part of the #Care4AllCA campaign this year would take immediate steps to get California to a more universal, accessible, and equitable health care system.

This year’s Care4All California legislative package, supported by a broad coalition of over 70 organizations, includes bills that improve our health system for all Californians, putting patients over profits and health industry interests.

To build on the historic work of the Affordable Care Act in our state, bills in the package would make it easier to get and stay on coverage, help improve access to mental health and other key benefits, and open our state exchange to more, regardless of immigration status. This legislative package also takes major steps to address racism and discrimination in our health system, and reduce health inequities by tackling implicit bias, addressing the lopsided maternal mortality rates of Black Californians, and advancing the work of culturally competent community health workers. These bills also take major steps to address the skyrocketing cost of health care by ensuring key benefits are covered, hospital pricing and billing is fair, and by expanding Attorney General oversight to prevent the harmful effects of takeovers of hospitals and health entities by hedge funds and the private equity industry.

“Californians are struggling with health care costs, access, and disparities, and these proposals will give them the urgent help they need now,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, the group that convenes the coalition. “With the vision of universal health care as our goal, this Care4All California package are sequential steps policymakers can take quickly to provide tangible benefits to health care consumers. Californians this year should rally behind these proposals to make it easier to get and stay on coverage, access mental health and other key services, prevent unfair medical bills, and address discrimination and disparities in the health system.”

Those in attendance included Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Jim Wood, Assemblymembers Joaquin Arambula, Tasha Boerner, Wendy Carrillo, Laura Friedman, Akilah Weber, Rick Chavez Zbur, and Senator Catherine Blakespear, who were joined by health and community advocates representing the over 70 consumer and community organizations as part of the Care4AllCA coalition. Showing the breadth and depth of support, nearly 20 organizations are a sponsor of at least one of the proposals in the package, including Western Center on Law & Poverty, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, The Children’s Partnership, the Latino Coalition for a Health California, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Children Now, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Aids Project Los Angeles, National Health Law Program, California Immigrant Policy Center, Maternal and Child Health Access, March of Dimes, First 5, Bet Tzedek, Reproductive Freedom for All California, California Nurse-Midwives Association, and California Black Women’s Collective.

The event can be viewed here.

The bills announced today as part of the 2024 #Care4AllCA campaign include:

Covering all Californians Towards Universal Access

  • AB 4 (Arambula): Removing Barriers to Covered California Based on Immigration Status, toward #Health4All.
  • AB 2956 (Boerner): Protecting Medi-Cal Coverage for Californians.
  • SB 1236 (Blakespear): Access to Medigap Plans Regardless of Pre-Existing Conditions.
  • SB 294 (Wiener): Automatic Review of Health Plan Denials of Child & Youth Mental Health Services.
  • AB 2466 (W. Carrillo): Timely Access to Medi-Cal Mental Health Services for Children, Youth.
  • Budget Request: Continuous Coverage for Children 0-5 on Medi-Cal.

Advancing Equity to Addressing Health Disparities

  • AB 2319 (Wilson & Weber): Reducing Black Maternal Mortality through Implicit Bias Training.
  • AB 3161 (Asm Bonta) The Equity in Health Care Act.
  • Budget Request: Increasing Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rate for Community Health Workers/Promotoras/Health Representatives.

Protecting Patients from High Health Costs

  • AB 3129 (Wood): Attorney General Merger Oversight on Private Equity Takeovers.
  • AB 2297 (Friedman): Medical Debt Protection.
  • AB 2753 (Ortega):
  • AB 2258 (Zbur): Protecting Access to Preventive Services.

“A majority of studies show that health care consolidations are not lowering costs for anyone but the entities consolidating, including those acquired by private equity or hedge funds,” said Assembly pro Tem Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and author of AB 3129. “We are often led to believe that these consolidations will save money and that it’s good for consumers, but what we are actually seeing in health care is that it reduces competition and results in higher corporate and shareholder profits.”

“SB 1263 protects Californians with Medicare coverage from being penalized for having a history of cancer—or other health conditions,” said Adam Zarrin, Director of State Government Affairs at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Why? Because one of the best-kept secrets in healthcare is that some health plans still discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Together with Care4All California, we’re thrilled to support this critical protection that will safeguard aging Californians’ health and quality of life.”

“Black women and birthing people are far more likely to have negative pregnancy and birth experiences than our white counterparts, and research shows that implicit bias is a root cause,” said Onyemma Obiekea, Policy Director for Black Women for Wellness Action Project. “We know this to be true for our community’s broader experience with the healthcare system, so AB 2319 is a critical step towards painting a clear picture of the issues, which will allow us to better challenge them and push for improved health outcomes for all of our communities.”

“This kind of data collection is critical in advancing racial equity in health outcomes for communities of color,” said Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “While research has found that BIPOC and other marginalized patients experience more patient safety events than white patients, we do not know the exact scale and scope of these disparities across California hospitals and healthcare facilities. We are proud that AB 3161 is included in the Care4All package of legislation that is pushing for greater health equity in California.”

“Community Health Workers, Promotoras, and Representatives (CHW/P/Rs) are essential health workers who serve California’s most vulnerable communities and communities of color. They are often the bridge between people who would otherwise not be able to access health care services and our social safety net,” said Andrea Mackey, Senior Policy Manager at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “CHW/P/Rs are representatives of the communities they serve and as a result, are able to deliver culturally and linguistically accessible care. However, they remain excluded from pay equity and the lack of economic sustainability prevents many from remaining in the workforce. We look forward to advancing budget advocacy in partnership with the Care4All Coalition to increase the Medi-Cal rate reimbursement for CHW/P/Rs.”

Many Californians with disabilities do not have access to the wheelchairs, hearing aids, ventilators, and other durable medical equipment that they need to maintain their health and live full lives in their communities,” said Carly Myers, Staff Attorney, National Health Law Program. “Despite the Affordable Care Act’s clear mandate otherwise, private health plans regularly exclude coverage of these devices. AB 2753 (Ortega) would clarify that durable medical equipment is a covered essential health benefit in California-regulated health plans. It provides the State a cost-neutral vehicle to correct this discriminatory benefit design quickly and equitably.”


Press inquiries may be directed to:
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California
rlinngish@health-access.org: 916-532-2128 (cell)