For Immediate Release: Monday, January 10, 2022
Rachel Linn Gish, director of communications, Health Access California, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-532-2128 (cell)
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, email@example.com, 916-870-4782 (cell)
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S 2022-23 BUDGET PROPOSAL MAKES HISTORIC INVESTMENTS TO EXPAND ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY TO HEALTH CARE
- 2022-23 CA budget proposed today by Governor Gavin Newsom includes major investments towards a more universal, affordable, and equitable health care system, including the historic end to barriers in Medi-Cal for ALL income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status.
- Budget continues key health cost, quality, and equity efforts, including the continued work to create an Office of Health Care Affordability to set cost targets across the health care system, make Covered California more affordable, new efforts to reduce or eliminate premiums in Medi-Cal, and a specific initiative to contract for lower insulin costs.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled the January proposal for the 2022-23 $286.4 billion state budget, which takes historic steps to close coverage gaps and bring California to near-universal health coverage.
“We thank Governor Newsom for these historic investments to acknowledge the lessons of the pandemic, that our health is dependent on the health of each other. Our goal of universal coverage is more urgent that ever, and removing barriers to Medi-Cal coverage will close a cruel coverage gap, directly benefiting millions of Californians and their families while strengthening the health care system we all rely on,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “If this budget is approved, California will make history in being the first state to ensure access to coverage for all Californians, no matter their income, age, disability, or immigration status.”
The California budget includes major investments in health care affordability that could potentially impact all Californians including:
- An expansion of Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, starting January 1, 2024 for over 700,000 Californians.
- A commitment to improve affordability for most of the 1.5 million in Covered California, beyond what is available from federal funds.
- An elimination of Medi-Cal premiums for tens of thousands of eligible children, working people with disabilities, and others who were just above the poverty line.
- The Cal Rx effort will use the state’s purchasing power to get better prescription drug prices with a renewed focus on insulin.
- The creation of an Office of Health Care Affordability to address health care costs for all Californians, by setting enforceable cost targets for all sectors of the industry.
“This budget not only closes key coverage gaps, but also tackles the rising cost of health care with proposals to increase affordability in Covered California, making insulin more accessible, and prevent inflated prices over the entire health care system through an Office of Health Care Affordability,” said Diana Douglas, policy manager for Health Access California. “These proposals build on years of work by advocates to make our health care system more affordable and accessible, while providing accountability on the health care industry to improve quality and equity in our care.”
“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate based on immigration status, and our health care system shouldn’t either,” said Jose Torres Casillas, policy and legislative advocate for Health Access California. “Expanding Medi-Cal coverage will benefit not just hundreds of thousands of essential workers we rely on, but the health and economic security of their families, and our common public health. We will work hard to make sure this budget passes to cover the Californians explicitly excluded from coverage because of where they were born, toward the goal of a more universal, accessible health system for all.”
This proposed budget also includes a range of specific investments in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Governor’s proposed budget makes other key health investments, including the continuation of the Cal-AIM effort to improve Medi-Cal program. Of note, the budget also removes scheduled provider cuts to Medi-Cal, and augments Prop 56 tobacco tax funds that have gone as supplemental payments to Medi-Cal providers over the past several years.