The State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services passed a funding proposal that aims to improve the healthcare system in California on Monday, May 7th. The proposal, introduced by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), includes a $1 billion investment to fund a series of initiatives that will increase access to healthcare services, improve the current infrastructure, and bring the state closer to universal coverage.
The funding package expands coverage by streamlining Medi-Cal eligibility to uninsured children and pregnant women who are enrolling in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, expands Medi-Cal enrollment for low-income seniors and disabled, extends Transitional Medi-Cal from 6 months to 12 months, and, extends Medi-Cal to a portion of uninsured and low-income undocumented youth, ages 19-25. The package also includes funding to strengthen accountability and transparency by establishing an all-payer payments database, improve affordability by providing enhanced premium assistance to low-income individuals and families enrolled in Covered CA and a refundable tax credit for people with income levels between 400% and 600% FPL. Lastly, the funding proposal aims to strengthen the workforce capacity in California by expanding the Song-Brown Program for multiple years and the UC Programs in Medical Education (PRIME) program over three years.
The proposal builds upon the recommendations put forth in the Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage’s Final Report: A Path to Universal Coverage and Unified Health Care Financing in California. The Select Committee was formed late 2017 to understand the current healthcare system in California and how to improve the healthcare system’s infrastructure to achieve universal coverage. The Select Committee held multiple hearings across the state to hear from experts in the field from across the state and country; each hearing explored issues within the current system that can be improved upon: affordability, access, fragmentation, and transparency.
The full Assembly, Senate, and Governor still need to consider and approve the proposal; CHC will continue to monitor the package and will provide regular updates.