5 Things California: health care trailer bill, ballot initiatives, early-bird registration

I’ll be taking the reigns of our California reporting at State of Reform for a few months.  DJ will continue to write content and columns, but will be spending more time building our events this fall.  Our 2018 Los Angeles State of Reform Health Policy Conference is coming up quickly in September and our San Diego event is around the corner on November 28th!

And, if you’d like to save a few dollars at either event, Early Bird rates are still available for both events, though the LA Early Bird rates close this Friday…

Marjie High
State of Reform

1.  Governor Brown signs the Omnibus Health Trailer Bill

The Omnibus Health Trailer Bill became law on June 27th. This health care portion of the budget compromise authorizes an all-payer claims data base, expands the Black Infant Health Program, enhances HIV prevention programs, and establishes several new health care councils. However, perhaps more notably it also declares the legislative intent to establish a health care system that “provides coverage and access through a unified financing system for all Californians.”

Medi-Cal expansions to undocumented youth and seniors, higher Covered California premium subsidies, and “express lane” Medi-Cal coverage for WIC recipients were dropped from the bill to ensure a timely compromise. Watch for these to move forward individually when the Legislature resumes session in August.

2.  Health care related ballot initiatives to watch

Twelve initiatives qualified for the November 2018 ballot. Two of health care importance are Proposition 4, which could allocate $1.5 billion to upgrade children’s hospitals, and Proposition 8, which limits dialysis clinic revenue. While few can argue about spending money to improve treatment of sick kids, Prop. 8 is poised to become a hotly contested battle between unions and patient groups like, SEIU-UHW, and for-profit dialysis companies and physicians groups.

Other notables: Proposition 2, or the “Robin Hood” measure which would divert “the Millionaire Tax” revenue to cover affordable housing for mentally ill; Proposition 7, the “Daylight Saving Time All the Time” measure which would finally do away with that pesky time change and; Proposition 9, the “Three States Initiative,” which would break up this “nearly ungovernable” behemoth into more manageable state-lets.

3.  LA County City and Community Health Profiles released

The LA County Department of Public Health released its 2018 City and Community Health Profiles. The data-driven profiles incorporate 58 indicators of health, demographics, and social, economic, and environmental conditions into graphic-heavy, community-based reports on overall population health.

The profiles highlight many health related disparities in the region including access to food, prevalence of open space, obesity rates, and access to health care. Of particular use, the Department has made raw data sets available for download here for further research and analysis.

4.  “Early Bird” rates for LA conference end Friday

We are getting very excited for our 2018 Los Angeles State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on September 19th!  You can expect about 300 of LA and California’s most important health care executives, thought leaders, and policy advocates.

And, if you already know you want to be with us, you can still save a few bucks on registration.  Early Bird rates go up this Friday to our normal registration rates…

Our Convening Panel for this year’s conference has been very generous with their time, energy and leadership.  We’re excited to send out our Topical Agenda to everyone, which we’ll do next week. So stay tuned there…!

5.  Blue Shield pushing for action interoperability

Blue Shield of California and a coalition of 50 national provider organizations and health plans sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) advocating for increased sharing of electronic patient records among providers or “interoperability.” Greater data sharing will enhance care coordination, reduce unnecessary care, and prevent unnecessary hospital re-admissions, the letter argues.

Blue Shield announced in March that it will require its network providers and ACO partners to participate in Manifest MedEx, a nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) network that facilitates interoperability. Health information exchanges recently received a boost in the state budget with a $50 million appropriation to expand and streamline use of HIEs.