For immediate release: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
For more information contact:
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)
CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY SPEAKER APPOINTS CONSUMER ADVOCATE ANTHONY WRIGHT TO “HEALTHY CALIFORNIA FOR ALL” COMMISSION
Longtime Health Reformer to Join Commission to Plan Path to Universal Coverage
SACRAMENTO, CA – California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today appointed prominent patient advocate Anthony Wright to the Healthy California for All Commission. Wright is the second and final appointee from Speaker Rendon, who also appointed civil rights leader Antonia Hernandez to the Commission earlier this year. Since 2002, Anthony Wright has been Executive Director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.
“Anthony brings to the Healthy California for All Commission a proven track record of making health care more affordable, transparent, and accessible,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “His dedication and institutional knowledge are a huge benefit to the people of California. I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the Commission.”
“I’m honored and excited to be part of the process to plan and achieve universal health coverage in California,” said Anthony Wright. “Our state has already been a leader in countering federal attacks to our care while implementing and improving on the Affordable Care Act, including recent first-in-the-nation investments in affordability in the individual market and expansions of Medi-Cal to more Californians regardless of immigration status. While we continue to provide real relief for Californians, this Commission will give us the opportunity to think bigger and bolder about how to make a more affordable, accountable, and universal health care system, and prepare our state to take action when we have more willing federal partners.”
As provided in the 2019-2020 state budget, the Healthy California for All Commission will serve to “develop a plan that includes options for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system in California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including, but not limited to, a single-payer financing system, for all Californians.” The Commission will total eighteen members, with the Secretary of California Health and Human Services serving as chair, and twelve additional members as appointees of Speaker Rendon, Pro Tem Atkins, and Governor Newsom, as well as five ex officio members.
Wright has served as a consumer advocate on health issues in California and New Jersey for over 20 years, including the last 17 years as executive director of Health Access. He has led state and national efforts to win consumer protections, fight budget cuts and invest in California’s safety-net, encourage prevention, and advance coverage expansions and comprehensive health reform. He chaired campaigns to successfully pass first-in-the-nation laws to ensure timely access to care, to prevent hospital overcharging of the uninsured, to increase prescription drug price transparency, and to stop surprise medical bills.
Wright led California’s coalition effort to help pass the Affordable Care Act and state laws to implement and improve it, including the campaigns to establish an “active purchaser” marketplace in Covered California, and to expand Medi-Cal, including to all income-eligible children and young adults regardless of immigration status. He actively supported a range of reforms, including California single-payer bills over the years, such as SB 921 (Kuehl), SB 840 (Kuehl), SB 810 (Leno) and SB 562 (Lara/Atkins), and other health coverage expansions such as employer requirements like SB 2 (Burton) of 2003, Prop 72 of 2004, and the later AB 880 (Gomez), and other health reform proposals like AB 8 (Nunez) in 2008.
“People who are uninsured live sicker, die younger, and are one emergency from financial ruin, and many more fall through the cracks of our costly, complicated, and often Kafkaesque patchwork of health plans and providers. Californians deserve financial security when seeking care, through a Medicare-like system for all, and this Commission is a serious attempt to figure out the solution and the steps to that goal.”