California Closer to Universal Coverage with Passage of 17 #Care4AllCA Bills Through Key Health Committee

With the passage of key bills in Senate Health Committee today, combined with passage of over a dozen other pieces of legislation in the past month, California has taken decisive steps toward a more universal, affordable, and accountable health system.
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For immediate release: Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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

WITH PASSAGE OF CARE4ALL BILL PACKAGE IN HEALTH COMMITTEES, CALIFORNIA MOVES CLOSER TO UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE AND A AFFORDABLE AND ACCOUNTABLE HEALTH SYSTEM

  • All 17 new #Care4AllCA bills tackling affordability, access, quality, and protecting California from Trump’s sabotage of our health system have advanced have advanced in the legislature this month.
  • Together, these bills aim to ensure that all Californians are able to have health care coverage as soon as possible, despite opposition and sabotage from the federal government.
  • The most high-profile, AB 3087 (Kalra) the Health Care Price Relief Act, was approved by the Assembly Health Committee 11-4 on Tuesday, despite opposition from the health industry.

Sacramento, CA – With the passage of key bills in Senate Health Committee today, combined with passage of over a dozen other pieces of legislation in the past month, California has taken decisive steps toward a more universal, affordable, and accountable health system. In March, over 50 organizations launched the Care4All California campaign to support a package of consumer-driven policies to achieve universality, affordability, and accountability in our health care system. All the seventeen new bills supported by the Care4All California have now been approved by policy committees in each legislative house showing the strength of the coalition, as well as the desire from lawmakers to make our health care system work better for everyone.

Under California’s implementation and improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our state has seen the largest drop in the uninsured rate of all 50 states, from 20% to just 7%. These bills protect the progress we’ve made while also moving California further in our efforts to close the remaining coverage gaps, while also lowering the cost of care, achieving greater equity, and improving quality.

“California is taking decisive steps toward a more universal, affordable and accountable health system. We are glad California legislators are not just resisting the Trump Administration’s sabotage of our health system, but taking pro-active steps to improve our health care without waiting for a new federal government.” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Building on the progress under the Affordable Care Act, California has a visible and viable path to get to universal coverage, and to ensure greater affordability and accountability in our health system. Calfiornia consumers can’t wait for a new federal government for the relief that these bills will provide.”

The new Care4All California legislation passed this last month fell in three main areas:

  1. Cover All Californians: Increasing universality and affordability
    • #Health4All: Ending the unfair exclusion of California’s low-income undocumented population from Medi-Cal (SB 974, Lara; AB 2965, Arambula)
    • Medi-Cal Aged and Disabled program: End Medi-Cal’s senior penalty by aligning income limits for seniors with younger adults (AB 2430, Arambula)
    • Streamline and encourage enrollment: Institute express lane enrollment for those in the WIC program (AB 2579, Burke)
    • Increasing affordability in the individual market
      • Require Covered CA to provide financial assistance for coverage, prioritizing people who currently spend more than 8% of income on premiums (SB 1255, Hernandez)
      • Increase subsidies in Covered California for people between 139%-400% FPL (AB 2565, Chiu)
      • Lower deductibles and cost-sharing in Covered California (AB 3148, Arambula)
      • Provide a tax credit to those who are above 400% FPL so they only spend up to 8% of their income on premiums (AB 2459, Friedman)
  2. Reduce Health Care Prices: Improving quality and equity through accountability
    • Contain Costs: Establish and independent Health Care Cost, Quality, and Equity Commission to set reasonable base amounts hospitals, doctors, and other providers of health care can collect from payers (AB 3087, Kalra)
    • Encourage More Options in Covered California: Ensure and encourage public plan and other options for every region of the state, so that no region is left with only one or zero plans (AB 2416, Wood; AB 2472, Wood)
    • Ensure Quality in Medi-Cal Managed Care: Ensure the managed care plans that cover nearly one-third of Californians are accountable for improving health care quality and reducing disparities (AB 2275, Arambula)
    • Maintain $250 cap on prescription drug co-pays and other consumer protections (SB 1021, Wiener)
  3. Protect Patients: From federal sabotage of our health system
    • Prevent substandard “junk” insurance promoted by the Trump Administration from being sold in California (SB 910, Hernandez; SB 1375, Hernandez)
    • Require health plans to spend more on health care, limiting administrative costs and profits (AB 2499, Arambula)
    • Prohibit the state from pursuing waivers that make it harder for low-income people to enroll in Medi-Cal (SB 1108, Hernandez)

All of these bills, as well as others that already passed the first legislative house last year, can be moved forward without the need for federal approvals. With the Trump Administration unwilling to work on expanding access to care, California much forge ahead with a plan that can be passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in order to protect patients and consumers now.

Learn more about Care4All California here: www.care4allca.org

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