Starting legislative deliberations on #Health4All

From our colleague Sawait Hezchias-Seyoum: The Assembly Budget Subcommittee 1 on Health and Human Services, chaired by Assemblymember Shirley Weber met at 4pm today and a handful of items of interest to Health Access and health care advocates, including advocates’ proposal around the remaining uninsured.

The LAO presented on our proposal around the remaining uninsured and outlined an advocates’ proposal as follows:

  1. Full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to those Californians who would be eligible for Medi-Cal except for immigration status.
  2. Amending the state-county health realignment formula adopted last year to allow additional counties that voluntarily choose to do so to fund nonemergency care for the undocumented.
  3. The creation of a state-only Health Exchange for those Californians who are barred from participating in Covered California by reason of immigration status.

Advocates including the California Immigration Policy Center (CIPC), California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), WCLP, PICO, Latino Coalition for a Healthy Community, California Primary Care Association and a representative from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ all testified in support making the case for equity and affordable health care coverage for all. There were no questions from committee members, but a closing comment from Department of Finance about the unknown general fund impact.

Most of the other items up before the committee were requests by departments for increased expenditure authority to support additional workload. The Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development made a request for increased expenditure authority to support their Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data Audit program.  Health Access testified in support of this proposal on the grounds that hospital performance data and reporting results in improved hospital performance, health care transparency and increased provider accountability.

The Committee also heard requests from the Department of Managed Health Care for increased expenditure authority to support their work around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The LAO suggested holding this item open asking DMHC to provide updated enrollment numbers before the May Revise is released.  This recommendation is noteworthy, given that California has already exceeded DMHCs projection for enrollment through 2016.  DMHC that there will be 1,390,103 total new enrollees by 2016 and just last week Covered California announced that approximately 1.9 million Californian’s have enrolled in Medi-Cal.

The Elimination of MRMIB was another item that was up before the committee.  The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board outlined the Governor’s budget proposal to eliminate MRMIB and transfer its programs to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). In response to questions from the committee, DHCS explained that they are releasing a draft transition plan by May 1st and asking stakeholders to provide comments before they release the final transition plan in early June.