5 Things California: Covered California rates, health care bills to watch, L.A. Conference Topical Agenda

The Legislature resumes session this week serving up a full plate of health care action. After the session finishes up, come join us to discuss the happenings at our 2018 Los Angeles State of Reform Conference on September 19th.

We just released our Topical Agenda, so take a look and register soon so you don’t miss out! In the mean time, here’s 5 Things We’re Watching in California health care.

Marjie High
State of Reform

1.  Covered California announces 2019 rates

On July 19th, Covered California announced an average 8.7% increase to individual market premiums. Though significant, the percentage increase is lower than in 2017 or 2018 and much lower than several other states such as Washington (19%) or Maryland (30%).

Covered California attributes the rate increase to higher costs from uncovered care due to the elimination of the enforcement penalty for the individual mandate passed by Congress in December 2017. While the federal government has refused to defend the individual mandate in court, a new Commonwealth Fund study shows that if passed, state-based individual mandates could lower uninsured rates and premiums nation-wide.


2.  Health care bills to watch as the Legislature resumes

The Legislature returns from summer recess this week to a host of health care bills. Legislators will have to work quickly to address them before the August 17th legislative deadline for the session. SB 910, a bill that prohibits short-term health plans in California, was scheduled for a vote yesterday, but with over 150 bills on the docket, its vote got pushed to today.

Steps toward single-payer, AB 2965 and SB 974 would each expand Medi-Cal to eligible immigrant populations – AB 2965 to younger immigrants through age 25 and SB 974 to senior immigrants age 65 and older. AB 2579 creates an “express lane” to Medi-Cal coverage for WIC recipients. AB 2459 expands Covered California subsidies by creating personal income tax credits or providing premium help for individual market consumers with incomes more than 400 percent of FPL.


3.  L.A. Care’s new initiative invests in the future

L.A. Care Health Plan announced an ambitious new program to address the looming physician shortage. The Elevating the Safety Net initiative features grants for clinical and practice recruitment in under-served areas, a medical school loan repayment program, and eight medical student scholarships to address future needs.

According to a UCSF projection, California will face a shortage of up to 9,000 doctors by the year 2030 and was recently found to be particularly vulnerable to shortages of OB-GYN specialists. L.A. Care’s initiative aims to alleviate some of the financial burden of medical education so that future physicians will be free to choose the specialty they desire in communities often overlooked.


4.  L.A. Conference Topical Agenda released

We have been busy recruiting speakers and filling interesting panels for our 2018 Los Angeles State of Reform Policy Conference which is rapidly approaching on September 19th. With over 300 attendees expected across all silos, this is one event that you don’t want to miss! We’ll be exploring policy and politics in healthcare with key legislators, evaluating opportunities and setbacks in reform with high-level executives, and discussing lessons from delivering health with leading physicians organizations, health plans, and hospital leadership.

Take a look at our newly released Topical Agenda to see what may grab you. Check out our Convening Panel to get an idea of those who helped put it together. Most importantly, register here. This event is a unique one that you won’t want to miss!


5.  Collaborative addresses fire survivor mental health

With the Carr, Ferguson, and now Mendocino Fires devastating vast swaths of California, thousands of residents will be subject to a very particular variety of trauma and loss. Sonoma County’s new Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative addresses mental health issues specific to fire loss through a localized community-centric focus.

The Collaborative brings together Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder experts from the VA, community mental health associations, and nonprofit organizations to provide a variety of fire specific, trauma-informed mental health services. As Cal Fire races to save homes and communities, the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative is an innovative model from which newly affected communities may draw ideas and support in addressing future fire-related trauma.