The California state budget May Revision was released today!
We are still in the process of reviewing the document but wanted to provide you with an update on the Newly Qualified Immigrants (NQI) Affordability and Benefit Program. This is an issue that collectively we have been bringing to the forefront since it was first introduced in the 2014-2015 state budget. We know that everybody has been advocating and “fighting back” to preserve and protect our healthcare as well as our basic human rights! Today we have proof that together we can make anything happen. Today the NQI Program has been eliminated due “Operational and Programmatic Uncertainties…” We did it!
For the last three years, along with our Covering Kids and Families and LA Access to Health Coverage Coalition partners, we have been voicing our concerns with the policy, educating a variety of stakeholders about the policy and advocating for the elimination of the policy. On March 28, several of our partners joined the CHC Health Systems team to meet with our state leaders in Sacramento to voice our deep concern against the NQ Program. On May 1st our Health Systems Policy Director Evelyn González joined other health advocates at the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services in Sacramento to advocate for the “Repeal” the NQI Wrap—altogether…forever. The Chair of the committee, Dr. Joaquin Arambula, commented on the importance of the issue and at the fact that he had not seen this level of participation among advocates and providers in a long time. CHC has a long-standing history of opposing benefit changes, such as the NQI Wrap, that adds additional burdens to the various Medi-Cal populations including those who already experience deepened vulnerability due to immigration status.
Here is the exact language as shown in the Full Budget Summary: Newly Qualified Immigrants (NQI) Affordability and Benefit Program – An increase of $48 million General Fund from the elimination of the NQI Affordability Benefit Program. Existing law authorizes the Department to implement a program to transition most NQIs in the state-only full-scope Medi-Cal to a Covered California qualified health plan. Due to operational and programmatic uncertainties, the Administration will stop efforts to implement the program.
As we review the rest of the budget we will keep you posted on any items that warrant attention. Please stay connected and informed.
Health Systems Team