As California Governor Jerry Brown wraps up the end of the bill-signing period at the Capitol, the Care4All California campaign announced and celebrated eight priority bills signed by Governor Brown that get California closer to the goal of a more affordable, accountable, and universal health care system. Under California’s implementation and improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our state has seen the largest drop in the uninsured rate of all 50 states. These bills protect the progress our state has made while also moving California further in our efforts to close the remaining coverage gaps, reduce costs, and improve quality.
These bills were key planks in an ambitious agenda from the Care4All California coalition of over 50 organizations of patient and health advocates, labor unions, women’s groups, communities of color, people of faith, immigrant communities, consumer groups, progressives, and other groups. The coalition formed earlier this year, and plans to continue it’s aggressive agenda into the new year under a new Governor and legislature. Statements from over 25 #Care4AllCA organizational members are included below.
The bills signed include:
SHIELDING CALIFORNIA CONSUMERS FROM THE FEDERAL SABOTAGE OF OUR HEALTH SYSTEM:
- JUNK COVERAGE/SHORT-TERM PLANS: SB 910 (Hernandez) bans the sale “short-term” junk insurance plans promoted by the Trump Administration in California.
- JUNK COVERAGE/AHPs: SB 1375 (Hernandez) regulates who can be sold association health plans (AHPs) and requires AHPs to comply with ACA consumer protections
- MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS: SB 1108 (Hernandez) institutes guidelines for Medicaid waivers to prevent eligibility restrictions like work requirements.
- PREMIUM DOLLARS TO PATIENT CARE: AB 2499 (Arambula) ensures health plans spend at least 80% of premium dollars on health care, limiting administrative costs and profits.
ADDRESSING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS:
- PRESCRIPTION DRUG CO-PAY CAP: SB 1021 (Wiener) keeps prescription drugs affordable for those with expensive health conditions such as cancer or HIV by maintaining a $250 co-pay cap and improves other protections on access to drugs.
- PBM TRANSPARENCY: AB 315 (Wood) requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to register and provide data to the Department of Managed Health Care to help consumers & purchasers benefit from the savings PBMs negotiate.
INCREASING INSURER ACCOUNTABILITY:
- HEALTH PLAN MERGERS: AB 595 (Wood) institutes stronger state oversight over health plan mergers, protecting Californians from changes to the health plan market that may lead to negative outcomes for consumers.
- PUBLIC OPTION: AB 2472 (Wood) directs a new California Council on Health Care Delivery Systems to do a feasibility study of a public option in Covered California and the state health insurance market.
Governor Brown vetoed one #Care4AllCA priority bill, AB 2275 (Arambula) which would have ensured that Medi-Cal managed care plans are accountable for improving health care quality and reducing disparities. This bill would have provided important oversight to Medi-Cal managed care plans that cover the majority of the nearly one-third of Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal.
STATEMENTS FROM #CARE4ALLCA CAMPAIGN MEMBERS:
“In an era when the federal government is actively trying to take us back to the days of high uninsurance and denying people with pre-existing conditions coverage, California is working not just to protect our progress and patient protections, but take additional bold steps forward. The bills signed by Governor Brown will protect Californians from the federal sabotage of our health care system, hold insurance companies more accountable, address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, and explore new ways to increase access and choice in our health care marketplace. These are major wins this year, and we look forward to taking even bigger steps next year to make health care affordable and accessible for everyone in California.” – Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California.
“The quality and accessibility of California’s health care is of utmost importance. These bills show that California can take the lead on making progress on key health issues, and continue to strive for further inclusion. At a time when many Californians, including immigrants, continue to face stark barriers to health care, we will to continue to fight for all to be covered.” – Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center
“We are glad to see progress made on Care4AllCA’s overall package of health care bills nevertheless, we are deeply disappointed in the Governor’s veto of AB 2275 (Arambula). Everyone deserves quality health care and the opportunity to lead a healthier life. We remain resolved to working with our partners and legislative leaders to make that a reality for all Californians.” – Sarah de Guia, Executive Director, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
“California Physicians Alliance (CaPA) is happy to see the state of California being a leader in health care. We look forward to advancing as a state and achieving our goal of an equitable health care system in which all adults have access to an affordable, guaranteed, high quality, and comprehensive health care system.” – Angelica Ramirez, Executive Director, California Physicians Alliance
“NextGen America is pleased to support the various health care bills signed by Gov. Brown. These bills defend California from the ruthless attacks by the Trump Administration on our health care system. They ban short-term junk insurance, preserve protections of the Affordable Care Act, and help pave the way for California to continue making gains to improve our health care programs into the future. NextGen America looks forward to supporting California’s work to expand coverage to all Californians and make our health care system affordable and equitable for all.” – Arnie Sowell, Vice President California Policy, NextGen America
“The successes made by the Care4AllCA coalition this year increase the availability of quality, affordable health insurance. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California looks forward to fighting alongside our coalition partners to achieve universal health care coverage as we continue our work to advance a bold agenda for women’s health care and equity.” – Crystal Strait, CEO/President, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
“California’s health care workers know firsthand that California can improve health care quality, expand access, and root out unfair costs at the same time. This year, California took important steps toward these goals by preventing consumers from being ripped-off by junk health care plans, ensuring more insurance dollars go into care, and protecting patients in an increasingly consolidated industry. We look forward to working with the Care4AllCA coalition to continue leading California toward our vision of quality health care that is accessible to every Californian.” – Bob Mutebi, RN, SEIU Local 1000, SEIU California
“Western Center is proud of the work of Care4AllCA did to safeguard the gains we made under the Affordable Care Act, particularly SB 1108 which prevents California from enacting work requirements or other hurdles to our Medi-Cal program. In the next year, we look forward to ensuring equal access to Medi-Cal for our seniors and immigrants, improving the quality of our Medi-Cal program, and making Covered California plans more affordable. We invite the next Administration to join us in the effort to get everyone covered.” – Western Center on Law and Poverty
“The American Heart Association is pleased to see SB 910 signed into law. This bill protects consumers from short-term insurance plans. This is particularly important for those with heart disease as those plans lack basic consumer protections and essential health benefits. Short-term insurance plans also lack important consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act: they do not provide comprehensive coverage or cover essential health benefits, and people with pre-existing conditions can be denied coverage or have their coverage dropped when they get sick.” – American Heart Association
“Despite the Trump Administration’s repeated attacks on the Affordable Care Act, these bills will help ensure Californians continue to have access to comprehensive, quality health care. This package of bills includes critical protections to make prescription drugs more affordable and maintains access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which will help reduce new HIV infections. We look forward to working with the next governor to continue the state’s progress toward affordable health coverage for all Californians.” – Craig E. Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, APLA Health
“Just as federal administrative actions threaten to strip Health Care Reform from vulnerable families, California moves forward recognizing the importance of access to health care in the lives of Californians. We applaud the recent actions taken by our governor to protect and strengthen our health care system. California Coverage and Health Initiatives’ members are on the front line of our health care delivery system. For over a decade have created strong, trusted relationships with our most vulnerable low-income and immigrant children and families and help them enroll in and navigate health care. The passage of these bills will assist to alleviate the concerns from families.” – Mark Diel, Chief Executive Officer, California Coverage and Health Initiatives
“Rising health care costs have made it difficult for families to pay for basic needs like housing and food. We commend the legislature for improving access to affordable care and we are hopeful for continued progress in the new year.” – Melissa Cannon, Policy Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates
“As future health professionals, the undergraduate and medical student members of the California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA) stand in solidarity with our Care4AllCA coalition partners in support of health legislation that will improve the quality, cost, and access of health care in our state. The passage of the Care4AllCA health bills will reflect significant gains on the path towards a guaranteed, high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable care for all Californians. Our members’ first-hand experiences with individuals who face multiple health barriers have strengthened our resolve to help every Californian get the health coverage they need. We strongly support these bills because they help to maintain the integrity of vital health programs, such as Medi-Cal, for our fellow Californians.” – California Health Professional Student Alliance
“On behalf of our rural farmworker communities, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation applauds Governor Brown signing key legislation aimed at improving quality, protecting consumers and building equity in our health care systems. This legislation lays the foundation for moving California forward towards health care for all. Farmworkers work providing us with food on our tables yet many remain without health coverage. We can do better!” – Amagda Perez, Executive Director & Noe Paramo, Project Director, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
“As successful business owners, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, California Voices for Progress (CA V4P) members see starkly the difference between the haves and the have nots. That difference is particularly egregious when it comes to health care. CA V4P members consider it to be a moral imperative that each resident of California receive the same level of health care they do. That’s why CA V4P celebrates the victories that were achieved this year fighting off the Trump Administration’s sabotage of our state’s health care system and making health care more accessible to our state’s lower-income and middle-income families. We also look forward to working next year to ensure quality health care is assured for even more Californians.” – California Voices for Progress
“All children in California deserve a healthy start to improve health outcomes, reduce disparities, and level the playing field. CDF-CA will continue to stand strong with Care4AllCA to protect Californians against efforts to weaken Medicaid, CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act, as we work towards more affordable coverage for all California children and families.” – Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director, Children’s Defense Fund – California
“Through the Governor’s actions to protect California‘s health care system from federal sabotage and to make health care more affordable for our families, California continues to protect the gains of 97% of California children with health coverage. Children Now with our Care4AllCA coalition partners will continue the advocacy to improve health care for Californians and ensure that 100% of kids are covered and have access to affordable health services that support children’s healthy development and well-being.”- Mike Odeh, Director, Health Policy, Children Now
“Care4AllCA has made important strides forward towards universal coverage, affordability and access to care for California families. We celebrate the power of our coalition to advance protections for California’s families from the federal administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and attempts to destroy Medicaid. As we look to 2019, we will continue to protect our gains and also build on our progress with efforts like Health4All and opening more doors to enrollment for children. In doing so, we will make California a healthier state and create a brighter future for our children.” – Mayra Alvarez, Executive Director, The Children’s Partnership
“California seniors join Health Access and other advocates in celebrating the Governor’s signing key legislation to protect California from dangerous proposals to undermine our progress by banning short term junk insurance, limiting association health plans, and maintaining existing Medical Loss Ratios, as well as laying the groundwork for future progress by examining the feasibility of a public option. Good work Governor and Legislature!” – Gary Passmore, President, Congress of California Seniors
“This is great news for Californians. We thank the legislature and Governor Brown for taking these important steps to stabilize the state’s health insurance marketplace. These laws will ensure that the health insurance Californian’s buy — one of the costliest annual purchases for many households — will offer high value coverage.” – Dena Mendelsohn, Senior Staff Attorney Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports
“Equality California is committed to creating a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this critical legislation to help ensure all Californians have access to quality, affordable health care.” – Rick Zbur, Executive Director, Equality California
“The legislation signed by the Governor is yet another example of California’s commitment to protecting Californians against substandard health coverage that is disproportionately targeted towards communities of color and low-income communities. The Greenlining Institute stands in solidarity with the Care4AllCA coalition, and thanks Governor Brown, Senator Hernandez, Assemblymember Arambula, Assemblymember Wood, and Assemblymember Wiener for their leadership in protecting the progress of the Affordable Care Act in California.” – Anthony Galace, Director of Health Equity, The Greenlining Institute
“Justice in Aging commends the Governor for signing into law health care bills that improve access to health care for older adults and increase consumer protections. Older Californians will particularly benefit from the ban on the sale of short-term health insurance, as these “junk” plans would raise costs for older adults and individuals with pre-existing conditions. Low-income seniors and their caregivers will also benefit from the assurance that any proposed Medi-Cal waivers will increase access to health care. Next year, we look forward to continuing our joint efforts to expand coverage to low-income undocumented older immigrants who lack access to health care today and to make health care more affordable for all low-income older Californians.” – Justice in Aging
“The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) applauds our Care4AllCA coalition partners’ fierce determination to fight for our community’s fair and just access to affordable, quality health care. When everyone in our community is healthy regardless of race/ethnicity, income, gender, gender identity, age, and/or immigration status, we all thrive. The Care4AllCA coalition has demonstrated that determined advocates and community members can advance measures to improve our collective health.” – Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
“LLS thanks the California legislature and Governor Brown for standing with blood cancer survivors and their families in support of SB 910. This critical law will help ensure that patients in our state do not have to go into debt or sacrifice necessities in order to access meaningful health insurance coverage. LLS is optimistic that the state’s policymakers will enact additional policies in the coming year that, like this one, protect access to care for patients and consumers across the great state of California.” – Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
“The Los Angeles LGBT Center is encouraged by the signing of key Care4AllCA legislation. But, the work is by no means over. We are committed to achieving universal access, increased quality and affordability in California’s health care system – particularly for the many LGBT people experiencing harmful health disparities.” – Los Angeles LGBT Center
“Social Workers applaud the passage of measures which will increase the affordability and universality of health care. Health care is the most basic human need. Before we can go to work, before we go to school or take care of our families, we need to be healthy as individuals and as a community.” – Rebecca Gonzales, Director of Government Relations, National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter.
“People living with multiple sclerosis and other disabling chronic health conditions can celebrate victory this legislative session from the passage of a slate of bills preventing the erosion of critical patient protections — particularly the banning of “junk insurance” and strongly limiting the sale of association health plans both of which provided nothing more than dangerous, empty promises. And, Bravo Governor Brown for signing SB 1021, keeping access to life enhancing therapies within affordable reach for Californians battling serious health issues.” – Stewart Ferry, Director of Advocacy, National MS Society
“Young Invincibles is proud of the steps California has taken to protect young people’s coverage by both rejecting Medi-Cal work requirements that will strip coverage from young adults and forbidding short-term plans which do not cover the very services young people value and utilize the most. We look forward to continuing to work with the Care4AllCA coalition and beyond to broaden access to health care for all Californians.” – Young Invincibles