Today, the California Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will meet to hear a number of key health care budget proposals, including two major efforts to make our health care system more affordable for consumers. The Office of Health Care Affordability as well as additional affordability assistance in Covered California will both be considered during the hearing which begins at 2:30pm today, May 4th, 2021. These efforts are among the most impactful of a number of health care budget proposals put forward by health care advocates this year.
Today the California State Assembly Democrats unveiled their updated 2021-2022 Budget of Opportunity, which comes on the heels of last week’s announcement from California State Senate Democrats of their Build Back Bolder budget outline. Both budget blueprints aligned on a number of key health care priorities, going above and beyond Governor Newsom’s January 2021 budget proposal, and would take major steps to close the remaining gaps in the uninsured, by eliminating barriers to needed coverage and care. Ultimately, the budget proposals by the Senate and Assembly will get our state closer than ever to our goal of universal health care coverage.
Today, the California Assembly Health Committee will consider a key bill, AB 1130 by Assemblymember Jim Wood, to implement a new statewide Office of Health Care Affordability, a new effort to address the rising cost of health care. As Californians face an affordability crisis on many fronts, the proposed Office is a bold, far-reaching effort to address inflated health care costs that are taking a bigger and bigger bite out of workers’ wages and family finances, forcing many people to skip or ration their care. This Office would put in place a comprehensive strategy to contain health care costs, setting targets for affordability with accountability, and drive innovation in payment and delivery of care while still prioritizing quality and equity.
Today Governor Gavin Newsom nominated Assemblymember Rob Bonta to be California’s next Attorney General, replacing Xavier Becerra who was just confirmed as United States secretary of Health and Human Services last week. Here is a statement on the nomination from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition: