CA Assembly Health Committee Advances Key Steps to Universal Coverage

Today, the Assembly Health Committee voted on key bills expanding access and affordability in our health care system, taking the state one step closer to the goal of universal coverage.
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For immediate release: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Contact: Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access, 916-532-2128 (cell)

BILLS BRINGING CALIFORNIA CLOSER TO UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE GAIN APPROVAL IN CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE

Sacramento, CA – Today, the Assembly Health Committee voted on key bills expanding access and affordability in our health care system, taking the state one step closer to the goal of universal coverage. The bills passed today will end the unfair exclusion of undocumented Californians from Medi-Cal (AB 2965, Arambula) and increase financial assistance for those purchasing coverage on the individual market (AB 2459, Friedman; AB 3148, Arambula; AB 2565, Chiu).

These bills are a key pillar of the Care4All California campaign to bring our state to 100% health care coverage without the need for federal approvals.

California’s landmark expansion and improvement upon the Affordable Care Act, has seen our uninsurance rate shrink to less than seven percent. The majority of the remaining uninsured are those that are excluded due to immigration status or who continue to be priced out of coverage because they earn just over Covered California’s income limits or who can’t afford to purchase coverage in the California marketplace even with existing subsidies.

“These bills represent the will and the wherewithal that California has to ensure that no one is left without health care coverage due to where they were born or how much they earn, putting our state on track towards universal health care,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, sponsors of the legislation heard in the Assembly Health Committee today. “These bills would provide tangible help for Californians who are now or will be uninsured, living sicker, dying younger, and one emergency from financial ruin. Beyond those who would get direct affordability assistance, all Californians would benefit from a stronger and more financially stable health system, where more people get the primary and preventive care leading to a healthier state. When all Californians are included, we can better share the risk and costs of coverage, helping prevent premiums from increasing.”

The bills voted on today include:

  • AB 2965 (Arambula) which is one of two #Health4All bills in the legislature that end the unfair exclusion of undocumented immigrants from Medi-Cal.
  • AB 3148 (Arambula) increases financial assistance for co-pays and deductibles for those in Covered California.
  • AB 2459 (Friedman) provides a tax credit to people who make too much for Covered California premium subsidies.
  • AB 2565 (Chiu) increases subsidies for low- and middle-income Californians to them help afford Covered California premiums.

Additional legislation to streamline access to Medi-Cal by instituting express lane enrollment through the WIC program (AB 2579, Burke) and hold Medi-Cal managed care plans accountable for increases in quality and equity (AB 2275, Arambula) were also voted on by the committee.

Similar legislation on expanding Medi-Cal, SB 974 (Lara), and increasing affordability in Covered California, SB 1255 (Hernandez) are also pending in the Senate.

These bills are part of an ambitious agenda from the Care4All California coalition of over 50 organizations of patient and health advocates, labor unions, women’s groups, communities of color, people of faith, immigrant communities, consumer groups, progressives, and other groups. The the aim of the coalition is to build on gains made under the ACA and put health care in reach of every Californian as soon as possible–without the need for federal approvals.

Learn more about #Care4AllCA legislation at Care4AllCA.org

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