For immediate release: Thursday, May 9, 2019
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)
GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S MAY REVISION OF STATE BUDGET SETS UP NEGOTIATIONS WITH LEGISLATORS SEEKING MORE INVESTMENTS
TO HELP CALIFORNIANS ACCESS AND AFFORD COVERAGE THIS YEAR
- Governor Newsom’s 2019-2020 May Revision continues to include first-in-nation steps toward universal coverage including enhanced affordability assistance in Covered California, continuing the ACA’s individual requirement for coverage at the state level, and $200 million general fund investment to expand Medi-Cal to low-income young adults up to age 26 regardless of immigration status.
- The May Revision provides an up-front investment to start affordability assistance in 2020 to middle-income Californians, now from 200-600% of the poverty level, from money raised by instituting the state-level ACA-like individual requirement to have coverage. Patient advocates will urge more help, especially for those lower on the income scale, and additional general fund dollars.
- The May Revision includes further investments in mental health, and continues to put Prop 56 tobacco tax dollars towards access, screenings, and Medi-Cal improvements.
- The #Care4AllCA campaign of over 70 consumer and community groups will work with the Legislature for further investments still needed to meet the health care needs of all Californians, including steps to covering all income-eligible undocumented adults, helping those affected by the “senior penalty” in Medi-Cal, and further addressing the rising costs of care.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled the May Revision of his proposed 2019-2020 budget, which continues to propose to expand Medi-Cal and to help middle-income Californians better afford premiums in Covered California and the individual insurance market.
“As opposed to the debate in DC about rolling back and repealing reforms, the health care debate in California’s budget will be about the scale and amount of help we can provide in accessing and affording coverage. Governor Newsom has proposed first-in-the-nation investments to expand health care, and we look forward to the negotiations with legislators that seek more help to more Californians who need it,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, and a co-convener of the #Care4AllCA campaign. “The Governor laid out initial steps to universal coverage, now the budget debate in the next few weeks will be about how far California will go down that path this year, to cover everyone regardless of age, income, or immigration status.”
“California is stronger when everyone has access to affordable health care. Too many low- and middle-income families are still living one emergency away from financial ruin. These investments in the Governor’s budget and in legislative proposals can provide much-needed relief to Californians, and help bring our state closer to the goal of universal health care coverage, benefitting the health system on which we all rely,” said Wright.
“We appreciate the Governor’s proposal to make upfront investments to start this help for consumers next year, but Californians need ongoing general fund investments to get to the scale and consistency to make this meaningful for middle-income California families in this high-cost state,”said Wright. “We will continue to work with legislators to advocate for greater general fund investment, to have a more meaningful impact on those who don’t get ACA subsidies but still struggle with the cost of care given our high cost-of-living. We also seek more assistance for lower-income Californians, where a little help can go a long way in getting more consumers covered and making the system stronger for everyone.”
Over 70 consumer and community groups of the #Care4AllCA campaign will continue to work with legislators to take additional steps to move California towards universal coverage, including the investments needed to close the remaining gaps in our system. Additional steps include providing help to those under 200% of the poverty level, to undocumented adults age 26 and older, and those impacted by the “senior penalty” in Medi-Cal.
“We will continue to seek additional help for our low-income families, immigrants, and seniors to access affordable health care coverage. We will seek affordability assistance from the general fund, beyond what is generated by the continuing the ACA’s individual requirement in California. We look forward to working with Governor Newsom and the Legislature on getting to a full down payment toward universal coverage this year,” said Wright.
According to the U.S. census, California has had the largest drop in the uninsured rate of all 50 states after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), going from 6.5 million uninsured to 2.8 million, and a 7.2% uninsured rate. But a recent UC Berkeley/UCLA report found that due to the elimination of the ACA’s individual mandate by Congress, the uninsurance rate could grow to 11.7% in 2020 (about 4 million people) and then to 12.9% in 2023 (or 4.4 million people). The largest groups of the remaining uninsured are undocumented Californians who are barred from accessing most health coverage options and Californians who struggle to afford their care.
“The ongoing federal and judicial attacks to our health care continue to threaten to undo much of the progress California has made under the ACA. We hope a final budget will help prevent more people becoming uninsured in our state, as well as take meaningful, first-in-the-nation steps towards covering even more Californians than before,” continued Wright. “We are encouraged that Governor Newsom and legislators are heeding the call of the California voters in the most recent election, making the debate not about whether we should expand access and affordability to coverage and care, but by how much.”