2018 Year in Review in Health Care

Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, released its assessment of 2018 today, detailing the progress in the past year on care and coverage in California.

For immediate release: Wednesday, December 26, 2018

For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, director of communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW IN HEALTH CARE: California Protected Our Progress, By Policy and By Ballot Box;

California Also Took Pro-Active Steps Toward Improved Industry Oversight and Universal Coverage

· After Two Years of Actions to #Fight4OurHealth, Californians Flipped the Seats of Seven Representatives Who Voted to Take Away Coverage and Consumer Protections from their Constituents

· California Policymakers Took Action to Shield Consumers from the Trump Administration’s Sabotage of our Health System with Legislation to Ban Junk Plans

​· New Industry Oversight Bills Passed on Prescription Drug Prices and Insurers; Additional Administrative Oversight Led to Conditions on Several Proposed Health Mergers, and 2019 will see California’s Authority on Health Plan Mergers Strengthened

· #Care4AllCA Campaign of Community and Consumer Groups Creates Momentum and a Mandate to Win #Health4All, a More Accountable and Affordable Health System, and Move Closer to Universal Coverage in 2019

Full 2018 Year In Review available on the Health Access website: https://health-access.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-Year-In-Review_final.pdf

SACRAMENTO, CA—Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, released its assessment of 2018 today, detailing the progress in the past year on care and coverage in California.

“Despite the ongoing attempts to undermine our health care system by the Trump Administration, California policymakers and the public took significant steps to protect our progress on coverage expansions and consumer protections. Lawmakers passed patient protection legislation and took administrative action to prevent harm to our health system. Ultimately, voters made a clear statement against any new attempts to rollback or repeal our hard-won health reforms,” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California. “Californians not only prevented cuts and caps to our health system, but took action toward a more universal, accountable and affordable health system. California passed new patient protections like banning junk insurance, preserving a cap on prescription drug copays, and instituting stronger state oversight over health plan mergers.”

“Because of pro-active politics the state put in place this year, more Californians will have coverage, and premiums increases will be less, than what would have been. Prescription drug prices will have additional oversight, and co-pays will continue to be capped to prevent extreme cost-sharing that otherwise impact the ones with the most expensive conditions. Health corporations will make investments and improvements to meet new conditions placed on their merger agreements,” said Wright. “So much more is needed to increase coverage, reduce premiums, hold down prescription drug and other prices, and keep the industry accountable, but the steps taken in 2018 provide momentum for bigger efforts with a new Governor and Legislature in 2019.”

In addition to detailing the bills passed, the administrative actions taken, the conditions placed on mergers, the campaigns continued and launched, and more, the 2018 Year in Review looks at the political changes that will have a big impact on 2019:

“Dozens of organizations came together to campaign for a path to universal health coverage that can provide direct and immediate help to Californians, by increasing affordability assistance in Covered California and expanding Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians regardless of age, disability, or immigration status. We are excited at the possibility of Governor-elect Newsom and the new Legislature taking big and bold steps to the goal of universal coverage, as they indicated would be a priority,” said Wright. “Real progress at the state level in 2019 is possible thanks to the changed federal landscape following the 2018 midterm elections, which solidifies the foundation of the ACA and Medicaid for California to build on. While voters kicked out many of the California Congressmembers who sought to undo their health care, they were clear at the ballot box they want to see pro-efforts at the federal and state level to provide tangible help in accessing and affording health care in the new year.”