New Data Released on Benefits of Build Back Better for Californians’ Health

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California,, 916-532-2128 (cell)


Beyond the process and timing of the Build Back Better act in Congress, new factsheets show what’s at stake for Californians’ health

SACRAMENTO, CA – Health Access California today released new data on the statewide impacts of the proposed federal Build Back Better bill on California’s health care as Congress continues to negotiate a final deal. The new data includes how many Californians would benefit from improved Medicare benefits and extended ACA affordability assistance, and how much Californians might save from these and other reforms, including efforts to negotiate and lower prescription drug prices. You can find the statewide fact sheet here: Build Back Better: What’s at Stake for California’s Health.

In a virtual event earlier today, Health Access, along with local central valley leaders and advocates, including Congressmember Jim Costa, also released data for the Central Valley: Build Back Better: What’s at Stake for Health in the Central Valley. Data is forthcoming for the California regions of Sacramento, Orange County, and San Diego.

“Big things are hard to do, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Lowering prescription drug costs, fully funding the Affordable Care Act, and improving Medicare are some of the most important things we can do to improve the lives of American citizens. We can and we will pass this transformational legislation and I’m proud to support it,” said Congressmember Jim Costa.

“In all the back and forth on process and procedure, what’s been lost in the discussion of the Build Back Better bill is the big benefit it will provide patients and our public health in general,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California. “Under the federal budget plan, millions of Californians could see substantial savings in their needed medications, families that could keep affordable health care coverage in Covered California, and older Californians who could finally get vision and dental benefits in Medicare.”

The new report identifies what Californians could gain – or lose – in the Build Back Better proposal in three key areas:

  1. Lower Prescription Drug Costs: Californians could save as much as $6.4 billion in prescription drug costs in just one year.
  2. Keeping Covered California Affordable: The American Rescue Plan provides $1.4 billion annually for financial help to Covered California enrollees. Without continued major funding from Congress, over 1.4 million Covered California enrollees could see increases in their premiums on average of $1,000 per person annually.
  3. Vision and Dental Benefits in Medicare: There are over six million Californians with Medicare coverage, and half report they do not have dental coverage. Almost one quarter of Californians over the age of 65 report they have not seen a dentist in the past year or never at all. If vision and dental benefits are included in the bill, it would ensure many older Californians can access basic care to improve their overall health and quality of life.

“If these major investments are made, this would be the most dramatic improvement in health care since the Affordable Care Act,” said Wright. “Especially in our high cost-of-living state, we need all California Congressional members to support this package to help health care consumers to lower their health care costs and provide improved access to care to the system we all rely on.”