Press Releases

Press inquiries may be directed to:

Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications
rlinngish@health-access.org: 916-497-0923 ex. 809

Historic Congressional Vote this Week Would Reduce Health Care Costs for Millions of Californians

This week, the U.S. Congress is poised to vote on a much anticipated package of health and other reforms that will provide both immediate and long-term relief from rising health plan premiums and prescription drug prices. In addition to notable climate change and tax policy provisions, the Inflation Reduction Act represents the most impactful federal legislation on health costs since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
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  • OVERALL IMPACT: The Inflation Reduction Act includes most historic health reforms since ACA, providing California families with relief from inflated prescription drug prices, capping costs in Medicare, and preventing major health premium spikes in Covered California. Specific California state, county, regional, and Congressional district numbers available upon request.
  • PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES: After decades of advocacy, prescription drug price reform would allow government to negotiate down prices for the most expensive drugs, cap Medicare costs for medications, and require rebated if prices rose greater than inflation lowering prescription drug costs for hundreds of thousands of Californians.
  • PREMIUM SUBSIDIES: The Act also extends additional ACA subsidy assistance, preventing premiums from doubling for over 1 million Californians, a savings of hundreds or thousands of dollars for Covered California enrollees. 
  • DEFINING VOTE: Vote in the House will be a defining moment for California Congressmembers in tight campaigns this fall to decide whether to vote with health care consumers, or to side with Big PHRMA and increasing health care costs for many Californians.
  • Briefing call tomorrow (Thursday) at 10am PST, with experts to provide insight on California state and regional impacts. Register here.

WASHINGTON, D.C./SACRAMENTO, CA: This week, the U.S. Congress is poised to vote on a much anticipated package of health and other reforms that will provide both immediate and long-term relief from rising health plan premiums and prescription drug prices. In addition to notable climate change and tax policy provisions, the Inflation Reduction Act represents the most impactful federal legislation on health costs since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

In particular, the proposal, as negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and swing Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia:

  • It extends significant subsidies to 1.7 million enrollees in Covered California health plans, limiting their premiums to no more than 8.5% of income and shielding them for a premium spike of hundreds or thousands of dollars this year.
  • It allows Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs – a reform sought by consumer advocates for decades – as well as other reforms to cap costs for needed medications, including insulin.

Health Access California will host a virtual press briefing tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:00am PST to highlight the impacts of this historic legislation to Californians. Experts will provide insights on California-specific statewide and regional data (as well as by Congressional district) and share stories of those that will directly benefit from the passage of the law and the help it will provide to Californians struggling with the high cost of health care. Register here.

“With the Inflation Reduction Act, California will get real relief from inflated health plan premiums and prescription drug prices. This historic package is the most significant health care legation since the Affordable Care Act and includes reforms that patient advocates have sought for years, if not decades. Californians are crying out for help to afford health and other necessities and we urge all of our California Congressmembers to vote for consumers and against Big PHRMA. It’s unfortunate we may see a divided, party-line vote on a package that provides so much help to afford health care, especially in a high-cost state like California where such help is so urgent,” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.

COVERED CALIFORNIA PREMIUM ASSISTANCE: Without the Inflation Reduction Act, the additional financial help that virtually all Covered California enrollees have enjoyed in 2021 and 2022 will expire at the end of the year. This affordability assistance capped premiums at 8.5% of income for all enrollees and even less for lower income consumers. These subsidies have been very successful, leading to an increase in health coverage of 200,000 more Covered California enrollees, saving thousands of dollars in premium costs for most who were already enrolled, and stabilizing the market with limited rate increases.

Inaction could lead to massive premium spikes for Californians who purchase health care on their own. Without an extension, the average Covered California enrollee will likely see an 83% increase in premiums, costing Californians and their families an average of over $1,000 per year. These impacts would vary by income range.

  • For those under 250% of the federal poverty level (around $34k for an individual), the average increase would be 124%, costing already struggling low-income Californians over $800 more per year.
  • Middle-income Californians above 400% of the poverty level (around $54K for an individual, $111K for a family of four) who are already feeling the squeeze of inflation would see their health care premium costs increase over $3,600 per year.

Other major variations will be seen by California regions:

  • Counties with the biggest potential increases include Imperial (438% increase), Merced (259% increase), Inyo and Mono counties (197% increase).
  • By Covered California region, the biggest percentage increases would be in the Central Valley (116%), Northern California (142%) and the Sierra Nevada mountain counties (321%).
  • Also hit hard will be the regions who have higher numbers of Californians enrolled in Covered California, such as Orange County with the second most enrollees of any county at 138,898. These Orange county residents will see their health care premiums rise an average of $1000 per year. But middle-class Orange County residents will see even bigger hikes – paying an average of $2393 more year more.

While this may be a party line vote, the impacts will be felt in red and blue districts alike. With regard to Congressional districts, some of the districts that will be hit the hardest, with premiums doubling or more for subsidized Covered California members, span the political spectrum:

  • Most impacted Northern California districts and the percent increases: LaMalfa (CD1, 138%), Garamendi (CD3, 114%), McClintock (CD4, 106%), Matsui (CD6, 113%), Bera (CD7, 107%), Eshoo (CD17, 101%), and Lofgren (CD19, 107%)
  • Most impacted Central Valley districts and the percent increases: McNerney (CD9, 104%), Harder (CD10, 103%), Costa (CD16, 151%), Valadao (CD21, 121%), and McCarthy (CD23, 101%)
  • Most impacted Southern California districts and the percent increases: Carbajal (CD24, 128%), and Vargas (CD51, 125%).

***Detailed Data by County, Regions, or Congressional District Available Upon Request***

“If Congress does not act, California consumers would lose over $1.7 billion in affordability assistance. While the state budgeted funding to backfill, it is just a fifth of what we would lose,” said Wright. “Our California Congressmembers can and should vote to prevent premiums from doubling for over a million in Covered California. We appreciate the champions in Congress that have fought to provide this government guarantee that no one should have to spend more than 9 percent or less of their income on health coverage.”

“If Congress extends help and these important federal investments continue, California is potentially poised to take even further steps to lower health care cost-sharing, including eliminating deductibles in Silver plans”, concluded Wright.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG REFORM: The three-year extension of Affordable Care Act affordability assistance in the Inflation Reduction Act would be largely funded by prescription drug price reform. The benefits of the drug reforms in the bill would be historic, and finally enacting decades long health care and consumer advocate goals. A recent KFF analysis estimated that over 700,000 Californians in Medicare would benefit in multiple ways:

  • Savings for the Government and Taxpayers:
    • Allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, currently explicitly prohibited in the Part D law. Under a new Drug Price Negotiation Program starting in 2023, the HHS Secretary would be required to negotiate for 10 of the most expensive drugs that lack market competition, going into effect in 2026, and then for 20 drugs by 2029.
    • While advocates sought the ability to negotiate for more drugs, getting at the most expensive drugs both sets a precedent to scale up in the future, and is meaningful since government spending is driven by a relatively small number of drugs. For example, the top 50 drugs under Part B account for 80% of the spending.
  • Savings for Seniors and other Medicare recipients:
    • Sets a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for prescription drug spending for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, where there was no limit previously. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, around 115,000 Californians in Medicare Part D have annual out-of-pocket drug costs over $2000 and would directly benefit.
    • Increases premium and co-pay assistance, by raising the eligibility from 135% to 150% of the poverty level. Over 24,000 Californians in Medicare Part D are estimated to benefit.
    • Ensures that all vaccines for older adults are available for free. Previously, Medicare covered some but not all vaccines. For example, the shingles vaccine is not included in Medicare Part A or B, and if not in Part D, could cost $190. Over 460,000 Californians are estimated to benefit from this provision.
  • Savings for all:
    • Requires drug companies that hike the prices of existing drugs above the rate of inflation to pay rebates for the difference. Just this year, some drug companies increased prices upward of 16%—more than double the rate of inflation—making already expensive drugs even more unaffordable. This rebate rule would be market wide, helping those with public or private insurance, or paying out of pocket.
    • Prohibits pay-for-delay tactics where drug companies seek to block or push back the introduction of cheaper, generic alternatives, an issue Health Access has worked on for year, helping pass AB824(Wood) in 2019.

“So many Californians are reminded of inflated drug prices every month as they visit the pharmacy or pay a premium. After decades of discussion, this package finally takes a firm step to use the government’s purchasing power to negotiate lower prices, and provide real relief to those in Medicare and beyond. While there is much more to do, members of Congress should vote in favor of this act, siding with patients, not with PHRMA,” said Wright.

    Covered California Announces 2023 Health Premiums – But Pending Congressional Action Matters More

    After three years of record-low premium rate increases of around one percent, Covered California, the state's health care insurance marketplace, today announced 2023 rates, including a new health plan option, and an average increase of 6% for 2.3 million enrollees in the California individual insurance market, including the record-high 1.7 million in Covered California. While these increases are lower than the national average due to Covered California’s role actively negotiating rates, consumer advocates highlighted that the actual premiums that nearly all enrollees experience will be impacted much more by the decisions in Congress in the next few weeks.
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    Lack of Action in Next Few Weeks on Extending Additional Affordability Assistance Could Spike Premiums by Hundreds or Thousands of Dollars;

    If ARP Subsidies Extended, Almost All in Covered California Could Be Shielded from Even These Modest Rate Increases—And State Subsidies Could Go To Eliminating Deductibles, Too.

    • The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan, along with state investments, have significantly reduced costs for nearly all 1.7 million Covered California enrollees, leading to record high health coverage enrollment for Californians.
    • Regardless of the 6% average premium increase, the ACA & American Rescue Plan caps premiums at 8.5% of income, regardless of income (and even less for lower incomes).
    • Consumer advocates highlight Covered California options (including a new plan this year) and the importance of coverage and comparison shopping (which could further lower premiums), and urge Congress to make ARP subsidies permanent.
    • Without an extension, premiums will spike by 80-120% or more, costing consumers thousands of dollars.
    • If federal premium help continues, state subsidies can be directed to lowering out-of-pocket costs, including eliminating deductibles in silver plans, which would otherwise be $4750.

    SACRAMENTO, CA – After three years of record-low premium rate increases of around one percent, Covered California, the state’s health care insurance marketplace, today announced 2023 rates, including a new health plan option, and an average increase of 6% for 2.3 million enrollees in the California individual insurance market, including the record-high 1.7 million in Covered California. While these increases are lower than the national average due to Covered California’s role actively negotiating rates, consumer advocates highlighted that the actual premiums that nearly all enrollees experience will be impacted much more by the decisions in Congress in the next few weeks.

    In 2021 and 2022, virtually all Covered California consumers saw significant reductions in their premiums, thanks to additional affordability assistance in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which capped premiums at 8.5% of income for all enrollees – and even less for lower income consumers. These Biden Administration actions have been successful, leading to higher health coverage enrollment and a more stable market, but are set to expire at the end of 2022 if Congress does not act.

    Congress is actively considering voting for an extension, along with prescription drug price reform, in the next few weeks, especially given inaction could lead to massive premium spikes for Californians who purchase health care on their own. Without an extension, the average Covered California enrollee will likely see a 82% premium increase, of over $1,000 per year. For those under 250% of the federal poverty level (around $34,000 for an individual), the average increase would be 120%. For those above 400% of the poverty level (around $54K for an individual, $111K for a family of four), the average increase is over $3,700.

    “Covered California’s important role in selecting and negotiating with health plans for the best value has been key in keeping rate increases modest, but Congressional action is the biggest factor in what almost two million Californians will pay for their health care next year,” said Diana Douglas, Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, which has been advocating for the implementation and improvement of the Affordable Care Act in California for over a decade. “Our Congressional representatives need to act now to prevent premium spikes. If Congress does extend help, then that would shield patients from even these modest rate increases.”

    “As the pandemic continues, it’s never been more urgent for Californians to be covered—Congress needs to act to extend affordability assistance, and individual consumers should shop and compare their options for health plans and premium help. Even those already in Covered California should shop and compare, since the best deal last year may not be the best fit this year, and even an increase could turn into a reduction if you are able and willing to switch plans,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. “These rate increases pale in comparison to the 80%+ premium spikes that Californians will see if Congress fails to act in the next few weeks, where consumer will have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more,” said Wright. “If Congress does not act, California consumers would lose over $1.7 billion in affordability assistance–and while the state budgeted funding for backfill, it is just a fifth of what we would lose. If these important federal investments continues, California is potentially poised to take even further steps to lower health care cost-sharing, including eliminating deductibles in Silver plans.”

    “Californians are crying out for affordability relief. Even with other prices rising, health care costs continue to be a major concern for families, and we need both federal and state subsidies, as well as concerted oversight on the health industry to contain costs. While Covered California’s active purchasing power helped keep premium increases below the 10% increase nationally, we need to do more to contain costs, including to robustly implement the new Office of Health Care Affordability to set enforceable targets for the industry. While we seek a federal government guarantee that no one spends more than a percentage of their income on coverage, we hope California continues to act to control the base cost of care.”

      California Makes History By Becoming the First State to Provide Access to Health Care for All Income-Eligible Residents, Regardless of Immigration Status

      With last night’s announcement of the state budget agreement, California makes history as the first state to agree to fully remove exclusions for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) coverage for all who are income-eligible, regardless of age or immigration status. The final 2022-23 State Budget closes the gap in coverage for approximately 700,000 undocumented Californians ages 26-49, the last remaining age group to be excluded from accessing comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage, starting no later than January 1, 2024. This is expected to lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade.
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      California – With last night’s announcement of the state budget agreement, California makes history as the first state to agree to fully remove exclusions for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) coverage for all who are income-eligible, regardless of age or immigration status. The final 2022-23 State Budget closes the gap in coverage for approximately 700,000 undocumented Californians ages 26-49, the last remaining age group to be excluded from accessing comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage, starting no later than January 1, 2024. This is expected to lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade.

      The #Health4All coalition, consisting of over 180 state and national organizations committed to health and racial justice, has worked alongside communities for nearly a decade to lead California to achieving this victory, beginning with winning full-scope Medi-Cal for all low-income children, regardless of immigration status, in 2016. Subsequent advocacy led to removing Medi-Cal exclusions for undocumented young adults ages 19-25 in 2020. And in May of this year, California began opening Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults ages 50 and older.

      Comprehensive health coverage, like that offered through Medi-Cal, protects individuals and families from financial distress and excessive out-of-pocket spending, encourages earlier diagnosis of chronic conditions, improves use of preventive services, reduces preventable mortality, and makes communities healthier. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated historical inequities within our health care system and highlighted the risk to our society when we exclude our neighbors from the programs they need to care for themselves and their communities.

      As we continue to remove exclusions to critical safety net programs for all Californians, the Health4All coalition is committed to ensuring that these policy changes are implemented in a clear and equitable fashion, and that all eligible individuals are able to enroll without interruption, and as soon as possible. The coalition urges everyone who is eligible now to enroll in coverage through Medi-Cal. If you are yet to be eligible, you or your loved one can enroll now in “restricted-scope” Medi-Cal, and be moved automatically to comprehensive coverage when coverage for 26-49 year olds begins.

      “California achieved this victory today thanks to the dedicated leadership of community members and advocates across the state who took bold, steady action over the course of a decade to ensure that everyone living and working in California has access to the care they need. This budget investment reflects California’s values of inclusion and fairness and should be a model for the rest of the nation,” said Sarah Dar, Director of Health & Public Benefits Policy at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC). “All Californians, regardless of their age or where they were born, should have access to basic necessities like food and fair, steady wages. Yet needless barriers continue to exclude hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and families from critical, life-saving services. As we celebrate this victory alongside our neighbors and partners across the state, we remain committed to using this momentum to keep moving towards a California that works for all.”

      “By removing immigration status as an eligibility barrier to Medi-Cal, California is building a more universal, efficient, and equitable health care system for all who call California home. Health care is a human right, and our health system is stronger when everyone is included,” said Jose Torres, Policy and Legislative Advocate at Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “As the pandemic highlighted, our individual health is tied to the health of our community, and we all benefit when everyone has access to primary, preventive, and comprehensive care. With the urgency on the ongoing pandemic, we will continue to advocate to take this and other steps to universal health care as soon as possible.”

      “I came to the U.S. 15 years ago as a single mom and learned to navigate the complicated health care system by myself. Having access to health care meant that I was able to take care of myself and my daughter. Even though my daughter’s immigration status was in process at that time, she was able to receive full-scope Medi-Cal because of #Health4All,” said Adrienne Bambou Diagne, a California resident. “Passing #Health4All this year in the Governor’s Budget would mean that she does not have to face the hardships when she turns 26 and ages out of the current system.”

      “This is a historic moment for California, reaching a goal that was nearly impossible just 7 years ago.  Approximately 700,000 Californians, who were among our most essential workers during the pandemic, will become eligible for healthcare coverage.  Many of these Californians with no access to preventative and follow up healthcare, risked their health and safety so that other Californians could shelter in place,” said Senator María Elena Durazo (SD-24, Los Angeles). “This historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to healthcare as a human right. Thank you Governor Newsom, Legislative Leadership and colleagues, including former Senator Lara and Assemblymember Arambula, and especially the Health4All advocates for being the collective driving force to make this happen.”

      “This historic investment will transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in California. I deeply appreciate the health and immigration advocates who for years championed this just cause, my legislative colleagues who helped fight for this crucial step, and Governor Newsom for his tenacious support of this pivotal change. California again leads by being the first state in the nation to achieve universal access to health care coverage. We know how crucial it is to bring equity to our health care system — we saw the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted on Latinos, other ethnic minorities, and those living in our most vulnerable communities,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno). “Health care is key to a successful life and future, and this will benefit ALL of us in California. While this is an important moment, one more step is needed to solidify this achievement. I strongly encourage Governor Newsom to sign Assembly Bill 4 — the “Health for All” bill that I authored as the legislative guarantee of this coverage — into law.”

      “We applaud the Governor for supporting another expansion of Health4All to ensure everyone can access healthcare, regardless of immigration status. However, by failing to secure an earlier implementation date of this final expansion, California risks worsening health outcomes for the most disenfranchised community members. The Latinx community experienced the most deaths throughout the pandemic and continues to experience economic losses and health hardship during the recovery phase. As we move closer to universal coverage, we know this is a matter of justice and health equity. We urge the Governor to implement this final expansion as soon as possible to ensure health equity in our state,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.

      “The pandemic has underscored how important it is for everyone, regardless of their immigration status, to have meaningful access to health care. Local immigrant advocates have spent years advocating for this Medi-Cal expansion, which would make a difference in the lives of so many Californians who have been unfairly excluded. This historic victory is a testament to our collective power when immigrants, health advocates, labor unions, and others join forces to organize at the local level, and we hope it will inspire states across the country to follow California’s lead and ensure health care access for all,” said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center.

      “Healthcare justice and immigrant justice are core values of SEIU members. Passing Health for All is the gold standard for inclusion in healthcare, an achievement that the rest of the nation can look to. I am proud of California’s progress toward inclusion of immigrant workers and our families in our healthcare system, and I’m  especially proud that SEIU members in California and our allies fought so hard and for so many years to accomplish this.” said David Huerta, President of SEIU California and SEIU-USWW (United Service Workers West).

      “Thank you for including Health4All for the remaining undocumented adults. This helps all undocumented communities in California, especially in counties like San Bernardino that don’t have a county safety program for undocumented adults. We are One California!” said Maribel Nunez, Executive Director of Inland Equity Partnership Partnership.

        New Budget Deal to Extend Major Help to Afford Health Care for Millions of Californians

        A statement by Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, on the announcement of a California state budget deal between Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders, and the impact on Californians accessing and affording health care and coverage:
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        SACRAMENTO, CA – Below is a statement by Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, on the announcement of a California state budget deal between Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders, and the impact on Californians accessing and affording health care and coverage:

        “We greatly appreciate that this state budget deal includes crucial commitments to improve health care access and affordability for Californians, providing real relief to many immediately, with the potential to eventually help all Californians with the cost of coverage and care.”

        OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY: “Years in the making, a new Office of Health Care Affordability will take time to set up, but has real potential to prevent ever inflating health care prices for all Californians, regardless if they get coverage through an employer, public program, or individually. The new Office created in this budget would set enforceable cost targets for the health industry, with accountability if they are not able to justify higher increases. This Office represents California’s biggest effort in many years to address the longstanding concern about rising health care costs.”

        HEALTH4ALL: “This budget commits to fully remove the exclusion in Medi-Cal based on immigration status, opening up this coverage program by January 2024 to over 700,000 income-eligible Californians ages 26-49, many of whom are essential workers contributing in so many ways to our economy and society. As the pandemic highlighted, our individual health is tied to the health of our community, and we all benefit when everyone has access to primary, preventive, and comprehensive care. With the urgency on the ongoing pandemic, we will continue to advocate to take this and other steps to universal health care as soon as possible.”

        HEALTH AFFORDABILITY: “For many Californians facing an affordability crisis who get their coverage through Covered California or Medi-Cal, this budget provides immediate and direct help for dealing with health premiums and out of pocket costs. In the next year, this budget deal will directly reduce health care costs for over a million in Covered California and hundreds of thousands more in Medi-Cal.

        COVERED CALIFORNIA: “The budget deal restarts special state subsidies in Covered California, either to partially backfill the potential loss of federal premium assistance, or to focus on cost sharing. If Congress acts to prevent premium spikes, then California is poised to take action to reduce cost-sharing. For next year, this could mean the elimination of deductibles in Silver plans, slated to be $4,750 otherwise. For hundreds of thousands with Covered California, this will remove financial barriers to getting needed care, provide some peace of mind and economic security that going to the hospital won’t break their bank account, and hopefully encourage further enrollment.”

        MEDI-CAL: “Importantly, the budget allows the Department to eliminate premiums in Medi-Cal for hundreds of thousands of children, people with disabilities and others who were just over certain income thresholds. The budget also reduces share-of-cost in Medi-Cal for other low-income seniors and people with disabilities as well.”

        PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: “The budget also invests in directly contracting to manufacture insulin, which has the potential to drive down inflated prescription drug prices. We strongly support and appreciate this innovative effort to use California’s unique purchasing power to fix the market failures that have plagued patients who stuggle to afford needed medications.”

        HISTORIC STEPS FORWARD: “All these specific budget investments, together, represent increased access and affordability for millions of Californians, so they can make ends meet and get the comprehensive care and coverage that we all need, especially when dealing with an ongoing pandemic. The commitments in this budget represent nation-leading steps forward toward universal coverage in California, and we look forward to implementing and building on these steps in the next few years to that goal.”

        OTHER KEY INVESTMENTS: “Other smaller steps to universal coverage include ensuring continuous coverage in Medi-Cal for young children, and staffing efforts to seek federal waivers for bigger reforms in the future. The budget also takes other key investments to improve our health system, especially in Medi-Cal. We especially appreciate the additional investments for reproductive health at this critical time when it is under attack nationally, establishing California’s leadership in ensuring access to abortion and other health services. As we continue facing challenges related to COVID-19, we welcome the investments in public health, including responding to current and future epidemics. While there is always more to do, this budget represents a big step forward in improving the health and wellness of all Californians.”

        For background, here’s our summary of the Governor’s budget and what we saw were the opportunities for improved investment at the beginning of the year:

        Click to access HA-Budget-FactSheet-final-3.2.22.pdf

          Statement on Today’s Supreme Court Decision and Access to Reproductive Health Services

          Responding to today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and various reactions, here’s a statement from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.
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          SACRAMENTO, CA – Responding to today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and various reactions, here’s a statement from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.

          “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 redoubling their efforts to safeguards these services, and our state policymakers for advancing additional reforms and investments. Health care advocates proudly support SCA10 to enshrine a right to abortion into the state constitution, to better fend off these attacks.”

          “As much as we must do in California, we also can’t ignore the national impacts of this devastating decision, which will harm the health and wellness of people across the country, with a disproportionate impact of low income, BIPOC, and other disadvantaged communities.  We must pour our frustrations into the federal fight, especially as those behind this decision seem intent on pursuing a national ban on abortion, and also undoing other rights with regard to contraception and other areas of reproductive health, and much more.

          “We will continue our work to have California lead the way to ensure quality, affordable, equitable, and comprehensive health care for everyone. No exceptions, no exclusions.”

            CA Health Consumer Advocates Respond to Legislative State Budget Agreement

             Below is a statement from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, on the just announced 2022 - 2023 state budget agreement between the California State Senate and Assembly:
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            SACRAMENTO, CA – Below is a statement from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, on the just announced 2022 – 2023 state budget agreement between the California State Senate and Assembly:

            “The Legislature’s budget announcement today largely adopts the Governor’s important investments to improve health care access and affordability for Californians, with many specific and important improvements. But it also misses important opportunities to provide urgent coverage for California consumers.

            “The removal of immigration as a barrier to Medi-Cal for all low-income Californians is a historic step towards a more universal and equitable health care system. Scheduling implementation as far out as January 1, 2024 would mean that 700,000 Californians will have to wait a year and a half to get covered, and 40,000 young adults would age out of Medi-Cal before the expansion would begin – all during a continuing pandemic.

            “Californians are facing an affordability crisis and need relief now, including from high health premium and out of pocket costs. While we appreciate the Governor and Legislature stepping forward to partly replace the federal premium affordability assistance that could be lost if the American Rescue Plan subsidies are not extended, the level of funding is less than a fifth of what would be lost. We hope that if Congress acts to protect consumers from premium hikes, then those state subsidies should go to reduce copays and deductibles for California consumers. We will continue to work at the state and federal level to reduce not just premiums but cost-sharing, so patients don’t face deductibles of over $4,000.

            “We also appreciate the Legislature’s additional investments in reducing share-of-cost in Medi-Cal for lower-income seniors and people with disabilities, to support continuous coverage in Medi-Cal for young children, and the funding for racial justice and health equity, reproductive health care, and public health.

            “Finally, we are excited by the continued consensus of the Governor and Legislature to establish an Office of Health Care Affordability to provide relief to all Californians facing high health costs.”

            Here is Health Access’ summary of the Governor’s January budget and the opportunities for improved investment.

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              Key CA Health Care Hills Up for Floor Votes This Week

              The California State Senate and Assembly will hold their floor sessions this week, with the opportunity to vote on major health care legislation to increase accountability in our health care system and improve health access for consumers. Most notably, two key bills face industry opposition heading into the votes this week: AB 2080 by Assemblymember Wood strengthens oversight on for-profit hospital and health industry mergers to ensure they are in the public interest and SB 858 by Senator Scott Wiener which updates penalty amounts that the state can levy on health plans that don't meet consumer protection standards.
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              KEY CA HEALTH CARE BILLS UP FOR FLOOR VOTES THIS WEEK

              • Major health consumer protection bills face industry opposition as first-house floor votes take place this week
              • Biggest fights with health industry are on AB 2080 (Wood) to lower health care costs by increasing oversight on consolidation and anti-competitive practices, and SB 858 (Wiener) on increasing fines for health plans that violate patient protections
              • Other bills up this week would lower out-of-pocket costs in Covered California and help more Californians afford care
              SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State Senate and Assembly will hold their floor sessions this week, with the opportunity to vote on major health care legislation to increase accountability in our health care system and improve health access for consumers. Most notably, two key bills face industry opposition heading into the votes this week: AB 2080 by Assemblymember Wood strengthens oversight on for-profit hospital and health industry mergers to ensure they are in the public interest and SB 858 by Senator Scott Wiener which updates penalty amounts that the state can levy on health plans that don’t meet consumer protection standards.ADDRESSING HEALTH INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION: Research shows health care consolidation is one of the major drivers of increasing health care costs. Health prices in California have less to do with the cost of providing the care, the quality of care, or the health outcomes, than with the relative size and market power of health providers to be able to charge whatever they can.

              “As the cost of living is on the mind of everyone these days, it’s easy to forget that health care prices have been skyrocketing for years, taking more and more from people’s paychecks, driven by health care consolidation. Health care mergers have often reduced competition for consumers, resulting in the cutting of services, lower quality and accessibility of care, and higher prices,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “AB 2080 would ensure that hospital and health industry mergers are subject to public hearings and Attorney General approval, to prevent inflated prices and loss of key services.”

              For decades, the California’s Attorney General has reviewed, held public hearings, imposed conditions, and approved nonprofit hospital mergers so that consumer impact could be measured and considered. AB 2080 extends that existing authority and process to for-profit hospitals, medical groups, and the other major health industry transactions.

              HEALTH PLAN FINE UPDATES: Despite strong consumer protections for Californians in health plans regulated at the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), many are still denied or delayed in getting medically necessary services. Yet fine amounts for violations related to grievance handling and other specific consumer protections have not been updated for decades, all while health insurance premiums have not just doubled, but quadrupled since 1999. Some fine amounts have not been updated since 1975 when gas was 59 cents a gallon.

              “With outdated fines, some plans may find it cheaper to pay the penalties instead of improving care,” said Diana Douglas, Health Access California’s manager of policy and legislative advocacy. “The California Legislature can and should update and increase the penalties when health plans deny or delay care or otherwise violate patient protections and other state laws.”

              SB 858 (Wiener) would increase the minimum civil fines imposed by DMHC from a maximum of $2,500 per violation to a minimum of $25,000. SB 858 would increase fixed fine amounts by four, based on the rate of increase in health insurance premiums since 1999. SB 858 also increases future fine amounts along with healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

              COVERED CALIFORNIA AFFORDABLITY: Other bills that will be up on the floor this week include AB 1878 by Assemblymember Dr. Jim Wood, and SB 944 by Senator Dr. Richard Pan, both sponsored by Health Access California, to increase affordability assistance in Covered California.

              With the new federal assistance in the American Rescue Plan in 2021, premiums are at an all-time low, but many patients continue to face barriers to care with other out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays. AB 1878 and SB 944 would zero out deductibles and reduce co-pays in Covered California, removing financial barriers to care for hundreds of thousands of patients, and encourage even more Californians to sign up for coverage through Covered California.

              This help would only happen however if Congress extends or makes permanent the premium subsidy enhancement passed as part of the ARP, which expires at the end of this year.

              All of these bills are part of the larger #Care4AllCA campaign of over 70 organizations advocating for bold state action now towards a universal health care system that is affordable, high quality, and accountable to consumers.

              Health Access Factsheets

              AB 2080 (Wood)

              SB 858 (Weiner)

              AB 1878 (Wood) & SB 944 (Pan)

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                Governor’s May Revision Take 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 investments, including 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.
                READ MORE

                For Immediate Release: Friday, May 13, 2022

                CONTACT: Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, awright@health-access.org, 916-870-4782 (cell)

                CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S REVISED 2022-23 BUDGET PROPOSAL WOULD IMPROVE HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY,

                BUT LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO TAKE ADDITIONAL STEPS

                • 2022-23 “May Revise” budget by Governor Gavin Newsom continues January investments to improve health care access and affordability, including restarting state subsidies in Covered California, expanding Medi-Cal for ALL income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status, eliminating premiums in Medi-Cal, and creating an Office of Health Care Affordability to set cost targets across the health care system.
                • The May Revise includes new investments in keeping Californians covered as the public health emergency unwinds, in reproductive health, and $100 million in funding to contract to manufacture insulin to lower costs.
                • Given the real concerns on costs, and health costs specifically, health and community advocates are urging the Legislature to provide more relief sooner, including a quicker expansion of Medi-Cal, additional affordability assistance in Covered California including for cost-sharing and deductibles, lower “share of cost” in Medi-Cal, and more.

                SACRAMENTO, CA – 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 investments, including 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 long and short term solutions, to reduce costs and limit price increases in both public and private coverage,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Millions of Californians would benefit from a new Office of Health Care Affordability taking a comprehensive approach in preventing inflated health costs, to specific solutions on prescription drug prices on insulin, and relief in reducing Medi-Cal and Covered California premiums and cost-sharing. We appreciate the investments to keep Californians covered, especially in Medi-Cal as the public health emergency unwinds, complementing the work we need to do to expand coverage in Medi-Cal and affordability assistance in Covered California.”

                “Given the big concern on costs, the Legislature should take this proposal and seek bigger and bolder action to improve health affordability for California families.” said Wright. “We need to prevent premium spikes in Covered California, and while the $304 million investment in state subsidies is welcome, it would be a fraction of the $1.7 billion in federal help that may expire at the end of the year, and we also need to address cost-sharing and deductibles which will rise as well without additional action. We are excited by ending the cruel exclusion of coverage in Medi-Cal based on immigration, which should not be delayed under 2024, especially for the tens of thousands of Californians who will needlessly age out of coverage otherwise. The Governor’s proposal continues to eliminate Medi-Cal premiums for children and people with disabilities just over the poverty level, and the Legislature should similarly reduce share of costs for such seniors and people with disabilities. These budgeted and proposed actions, together, are big steps to a more affordable, equitable, and universal health system.”

                For more background, here’s our one sheet on the Governor’s January budget, which have largely continued in the May Revise, and then more comment about what advocates and legislators will be seeking: https://health-access.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/HA-Budget-FactSheet-final-3.2.22.pdf

                HEALTH4ALL: The Governor’s budget proposal continues to seek an expansion of Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, starting January 1, 2024 for over 700,000 Californians aged 26-49 years old. “Expanding Medi-Cal coverage will benefit not just hundreds of thousands of essential workers we rely on, but the health and economic security of their families, and our common public health. We will work hard to make sure this expansion happens as soon as possible to cover the Californians explicitly excluded from coverage because of where they were born. These Californians can’t wait for coverage, especially the 40,000 young adults that will age out of coverage without more urgent action,” said Jose Torres Casillas, policy and legislative advocate for Health Access California.

                COVERED CALIFORNIA: In the January budget, the Governor made a commitment to improve affordability assistance, including on cost-sharing, building on federal funds. The May proposal would reinstitute the state subsidy program, which would help if Congress does not extend federal American Rescue Plan dollars, but would be a fraction of the $1.7 billion/year that Californians would lose in affordability assistance. “We will continue to seek more help to prevent premiums in Covered California from spiking by over $1000/person, and especially if federal funds are continued, to also to help with cost sharing, especially with deductibles that will rise to $4750 next year for Silver plans.” said Wright.

                OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY: The budget continues to propose this new Office of Health Care Affordability, a comprehensive approach to set enforceable cost targets for the health industry. “In addition to the immediate relief in the budget release, this Office of Health Care Affordability is most far-reaching health affordability proposal, with the potential to prevent inflated health costs for nearly all Californians, in public and commercial coverage.” said Wright. “After three years of active negotiation, it’s time for the Office of Health Care Affordability to start its crucial work of preventing

                MEDI-CAL AFFORDABILITY: The Governor proposes to suspend premiums in Medi-Cal for hundreds of thousands of children, people with disabilities and others just over the poverty level, while advocates hope to eliminate them permanently. Advocates are also seeking reduction of “share of cost” Medi-Cal for seniors and people with disabilities just over the poverty level.

                PRESCRIPTION DRUGS PRICES/INSULIN: The Governor hinted in January about California moving forward to contract to manufacture insulin, as a way to address market failures that have left this century old medicine with an inflated price. This May Revision includes more details, including seeking a $100 million investment to start that process. “This budget would make an important investment to correct the market failures that have left insulin prices inflate for decades. California can and should use its purchasing power to provide relief to California patients and taxpayers struggling with the price of prescription drugs like insulin.” said Wright.

                KEEPING CALIFORNIANS COVERED: The budget includes investments related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and also help to ensure people stay on coverage, through investments like $30 million general fund in Medi-Cal navigators, and another $12.5 million in a media campaign so people know their coverage options and opportunities. “We strongly support the new investments to provide public education and outreach, to keep Californians covered, especially as the public health emergency unwinds. Californians need care and coverage even after the worse of the pandemic and public health measures are lifted, and we all benefit when we all are included in the health system,” said Wright.

                FURTHER STEPS TO UNIVERSAL COVERAGE: In addition to these major investments in coverage and affordability, other important investments are in reproductive health, in Medi-Cal benefits, and in a health information exchange. “These budget investments include big and bold steps to expand coverage and affordability, and we also appreciate the staffing to further explore federal waivers and other steps outlined by the Healthy California For All Commission to take additional steps to a universal health system with unified financing.” said Wright.

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                  Major CA Bills to Increase Accountability in Our Health Care System Up In Committee This Week

                  California legislative committees are set to hear two health care bills this week that would increase accountability for health care consumers while preserving their access to care and preventing inflated health prices. SB 858 by Senator Scott Wiener, which will be heard today (Tuesday) in Senate Judiciary Committee, updates penalty amounts that the state can levy on health plans that don't meet consumer protection standards. AB 2080 by Assemblymember Wood, which will be heard today (Tuesday) in Assembly Health Committee and on Thursday in Assembly Judiciary Committee, would provide needed oversight on for-profit hospital mergers to ensure they are in the best interest of the California public.  
                  READ MORE

                  MAJOR CA BILLS TO INCREASE ACCOUNTABILITY IN OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM UP IN COMMITTEE THIS WEEK

                  • AB 2080 (Wood) improves oversight by the CA Attorney General over for-profit health care mergers, to preserve access and prevent inflated costs due to consolidation
                  • SB 858 (Wiener) increases fines on health plans that don’t meet requirements for timely access to care and other consumer protections, updating fines not changed since the 1970s
                  • Both bills to be heard this week in Health and Judiciary Committees, before a crucial end-of-week deadline

                  SACRAMENTO, CA – California legislative committees are set to hear two health care bills this week that would increase accountability for health care consumers while preserving their access to care and preventing inflated health prices. SB 858 by Senator Scott Wiener, which will be heard today (Tuesday) in Senate Judiciary Committee, updates penalty amounts that the state can levy on health plans that don’t meet consumer protection standards. AB 2080 by Assemblymember Wood, which will be heard today (Tuesday) in Assembly Health Committee and on Thursday in Assembly Judiciary Committee, would provide needed oversight on for-profit hospital mergers to ensure they are in the best interest of the California public.

                  “The California Legislature can and should take action this year to ensure access to care and contain rising health care costs,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the lead supporter of SB 858 and AB 2080. “These bills will increase state oversight on health plans and the health industry, whether through the Attorney General or the Department of Managed Health Care, to ensure consumers’ best interests are taken into account when reviewing hospital mergers or when setting fine amounts for health plans. As families struggle to find and pay for health care, these bills will make sure that for-profit hospitals and health plans are responding to the needs of California consumers first and foremost.”

                  UPDATING HEALTH PLAN FINES: Despite strong consumer protections for 27 million Californians in health plans regulated at the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), many are still denied or delayed in getting medically necessary services.

                  “DMHC’s financial penalties have not been updated for decades, and plans may find it cheaper to pay the penalties instead of improving care. Some fine amounts have not been updated since 1975 when gas was 59 cents a gallon. Fine amounts for violations related to grievance handling and other specific consumer protections have not been updated since 1999 or 2000—and in the last 20 years, health insurance premiums have not just doubled, premiums today are four times as high as they were in 1999,” said Diana Douglas, Health Access California’s manager of policy and legislative advocacy.

                  SB 858 (Wiener) would increase the minimum civil fines imposed by DMHC from a maximum of $2,500 per violation to a minimum of $25,000. SB 858 would increase fixed fine amounts by four, based on the rate of increase in health insurance premiums since 1999. SB 858 also increases future fine amounts along with healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

                  INCREASING OVERSIGHT ON HEALTH CONSOLIDATION: For decades, the California’s Attorney General has reviewed, held public hearings, imposed conditions, and approved nonprofit hospital mergers so that consumer impact could be measured and considered. AB 2080 (Wood) extends that existing authority and process to for-profit hospitals, medical groups, and the other major health industry transactions.

                  “As mergers reshape the health system we all rely on right under our feet, these for-profit deals should get proper public scrutiny and input on their impact on cost, quality, equity and access. The oversight is important since mergers can decrease competition for consumers or result in the cutting of services, the lowering the quality and accessibility of care, and increasing prices. Health care consolidation is one of the major drivers of increasing health care costs – which have been rising much faster than inflation for many years. Health prices in California have less to do with the cost of providing the care, the quality of care, or the health outcomes, than with the relative size and market power of health providers to be able to charge whatever they can. AB 2080 is needed so that consumers best interest – and the health of the health care market – is taken into consideration before the AG approves a for-profit merger,” said Wright.

                  Senate committee hearings can be viewed here, and Assembly committee hearings can be viewed here.

                  Both of these bills are part of the larger #Care4AllCA campaign of over 70 organizations advocating for bold state action now towards a universal health care system that is affordable, high quality, and accountable to consumers.

                  Background

                  SB 858 (Wiener): Health Access Factsheet

                  AB 2080 (Wood): Health Access Factsheet

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                    #CARE4ALLCA: Major Health Reform Package Puts a Universal Health System in CA Within Reach

                    Sixteen 2022 Proposals Would Expand Coverage to Hundreds of Thousands & More Affordability to Millions of Californians, Creating a More Equitable Health System, Putting Universal Coverage in CA Within Reach
                    READ MORE

                    For Immediate Release: Monday, March 21, 2022

                    CONTACT: Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California, rlinngish@health-access.org, 916-532-2128 (cell)

                    2022 CARE4ALL CALIFORNIA AGENDA FOR HEALTH REFORM ANNOUNCED

                    Sixteen 2022 Proposals Would Expand Coverage to Hundreds of Thousands & More Affordability to Millions of Californians, Creating a More Equitable Health System, Putting Universal Coverage in CA Within Reach

                    • Proposals expand Medi-Cal coverage to over 700,000 regardless of immigration status and lower costs for another 500,000 in the program, and would also:
                    • Lower cost-sharing and deductibles for over 1.5 million in Covered California
                    • Tackle the rising cost of health care, preventing inflated health prices
                    • Make it easier to get on and stay on coverage, whether in public or private coverage, including for folks paying taxes, applying for unemployment, or going on strike
                    • Increase equity, and improve outreach and access to key mental health services, and coverage in general

                    SACRAMENTO, CA – As the U.S. celebrates the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week, California legislators and the Care4All California coalition today announced a 2022 legislative package of sixteen proposals aimed to improve on the ACA and get our state to a universal, high-quality health care system. Over 70 Care4All California coalition members joined a half dozen health legislative champions to highlight the key health reform bills and budget asks to expand access and coverage, reduce health care costs, improve quality, and increase equity in our health system. Together, the proposals would slash California’s uninsured rate, make it easier to get on and stay on coverage, provide key state oversight over major drivers of high health costs, and bring our state closer than ever before to a universal health system. Here is the full list of this year’s bills and budget items.

                    If passed, these proposals would make meaningful impact on almost every part of the health care system. More people would be enrolled in coverage, either directly through the expansion of Medi-Cal to over 700,000 undocumented adults age 26-49, or through increasing financial help for those who can’t afford coverage on their own and reducing the barriers to accessing coverage. Bills would lower cost-sharing and deductibles for over 1.5 million enrolled in Covered California, making care in the program more affordable than ever for those who have found the price of coverage out of reach.

                    Other major efforts in the package would take bold steps to address the drivers of sky-rocketing health care prices, which harms those who have coverage but still can’t afford to pay their medical bills, by establishing an Office of Health Care Affordability and putting more oversight on industry consolidation. Taking into account the urgent needs of many of California’s underserved communities struggling during the pandemic and with access to care, the package includes a number of bills that would improve access to mental health for communities of color, gender affirming care, and Medi-Cal services, as well as improving data collection to meet health equity goals.

                    “These proposals now pending in the California Legislature would represent the biggest expansion of coverage since the ACA, and would be the most far-reaching in terms of providing cost relief to millions of Californians,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, the group that convenes the coalition. “The package would make it easier to get on and stay on coverage, for public and private coverage, including for folks filing their taxes, or for unemployment, or when going on strike. The package ensures equitable outreach and access, for mental health services, gender-affirming care, and coverage in general. We thank our legislative champions for their support over the years, and for being willing to take these bold steps to get us to a better, more equitable, and universal health system to benefit all Californians.”

                    “California has an incredible opportunity to positively impact the health of people who live here. One third of the state’s population relies on Medi-Cal for health care, which means the quality of Medi-Cal has a significant influence on the overall health of countless California communities,” said Crystal D. Crawford, Executive Director of Western Center on Law & Poverty. “As we expand access to health care while ensuring medical debt and other health care costs don’t keep people locked into poverty, we must also make sure the care people receive is high quality. Together, this year’s Care4All California package brings us closer to that goal.”

                    “As California experiences another budget surplus, it is beyond time the State dedicates its vast resources to those who are hardest hit by the pandemic. Californians of color, people who are undocumented, people with limited English proficiencies, and people who are low income continue to fare the worst as the wealthy recover,” said Andrea Rivera, senior legislative advocate with the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “Care4All California has a package of policies aimed at improving quality and expanding equity in overall health, data collection, and mental health that we look forward to passing this year with the legislature and Governor.”

                    Over the last dozen years of the ACA, California has led the nation with the biggest drop of the uninsured rate of any state, and invested state dollars to make our care even more affordable. For the past four years, the #Care4AllCA coalition of over 70 organizations has been advocating for additional and bold action now, without the need for federal approvals or Acts of Congress, and has seen great success in passing major health reforms.

                    The event was also livestreamed on Health Access’ Facebook page.

                    Here is a recap of the bills announced as part of the #Care4AllCA 2022 campaign:

                    • Covering all Californians and improving affordability toward universal coverage:
                      • Expanding Medi-Cal to ALL regardless of immigration status, toward the goal of #Health4All (Assemblymember Arambula & Senator Durazo)
                      • SB 944 (Pan) & AB 1878 (Wood): Greater affordability in Covered California
                      • AB 1995 (Arambula): Eliminating Medi-Cal premiums
                      • AB 1900 (Arambula): Lowering costs through Medi-Cal share of cost reform
                      • AB 2402 (Rubio): Providing Medi-Cal continuous coverage for young children
                      • SB 644 (Leyva): Connecting the unemployed to coverage
                      • SB 967 (Hertzberg): Connecting taxpayers to coverage information
                      • AB 2530 (Wood): Keeping striking workers covered
                    • Improving health care equity:
                      • SB 1033 (Pan): Advancing health equity with data
                      • SB 923 (Wiener): Ensuring access to gender affirming care
                      • SB 1019 (Gonzalez): Strengthening access to Medi-Cal mental health for diverse communities.
                      • Mobile mental health crisis response budget proposal
                      • AB 1930 (Arambula): Providing comprehensive perinatal services in Medi-Cal
                    • Reducing health care costs and ensuring industry accountability:
                      • AB 1130 (Wood): Creating an Office of Health Care Affordability
                      • AB 2080 (Wood): Improving oversight over health industry consolidation
                      • SB 858 (Wiener): Strengthening health plan accountability

                    Legislative and budget hearings for these proposals kick-off this week, with AB 1900 (Arambula) and AB 1995 (Arambula) being heard Tuesday in Assembly Health Committee, and SB 944 (Pan) being heard on Wednesday in Senate Health Committee.

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