|On Tuesday Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2023-24 state budget, continuing commitments to expand and improve Medi-Cal, including the plan to remove all barriers for income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, in Medi-Cal beginning January 2024. As we continue to face an ongoing pandemic and increasing economic uncertainty, we applaud this step to include as many Californians in our health care system as soon as possible, improving the physical and economic health of our families, communities, and the state as a whole.
Other health care investments include:
While key commitments were kept, health advocates were disappointed to learn of the Governor’s proposal to take $333 million meant for Covered California affordability assistance back into the General Fund. The Health Care Affordability Reserve Fund was created to make care more affordable for those in Covered California. The money for the fund is raised from individual mandate penalty revenue. The Governor’s proposal to take back these dollars through 2025 means the potential loss of over $1 billion from the penalty for this assistance.
The hundreds of millions raised in the Health Care Affordability Reserve Fund from those without coverage should go directly to lowering costs in Covered California, like cost-sharing and deductibles, to make sure more people are able to afford and use their coverage
This budget announcement kicks off months of negotiation with the State Legislature. Building on these proposals and given the urgent needs, health and community advocates urge state lawmakers to take quicker and additional steps to address health affordability.
We look forward to working with the legislature in the coming months to enact the strongest state budget possible for California’s health care consumers.