5 Things California: Top 5 from 2018, pre-filed legislation, learning from NFIB

First, I hope your Christmas is full of cheer and family, your Hannukah was warm and bright, and that your holiday season affords you an opportunity to unplug a bit from modern America.

If you are still plugged in – or if you’re reading this after returning from a break – here are a few things we’re tracking in California health care and health policy to end 2018.

DJ 5 Things Signature


With help from Emily Boerger,
Sara Gentlzer and Marjie High


1.  New bills focus on expanded access

After being sworn in on Dec. 3rd, legislators have been giving us a glimpse of hot issues for the 2019 session as they introduce bills to be considered.  Expanding access to health care is a common theme as several of the 233 bills and resolutions currently filed resurrect previous expansion campaigns.

This time around, Medi-Cal expansion bills AB 4/SB 29 propose expanding coverage to all income-eligible immigrants regardless of documentation. Sen. Beall introduced a suite of bills with SB 10, 11, and 12 that target mental health access and parity. Also, Sen. Leyva will try againto ensure access to medication abortion on California State college campus with SB 24.


2.  The timeline for deciding the ACA ruling

Friday’s decision invalidating the ACA drew two responses: one that claimed victory, and one that said this ruling will get overturned. Here’s what I think we know about this process based on the NFIB v. Sebelius case, which was the 2012 landmark ruling on the ACA.

First, the timeline for a decision will be some time, but not that long.  Marjie High and Sara Gentzler on our team researched this question and estimate a decision possibly as soon as June 2020. Like 2012, that would be like setting off a bomb in the middle of the presidential election. It’s also a fool’s errand to suggest anyone knows how the Supreme Court will ultimately decide this. No one foresaw the creativity of the Roberts decision in NFIB in 2012 – I was wildly off the mark – and few will probably predict (correctly) how this court will react in 2020.

3. Looking back on the stories from 2018

We went back and reviewed the top five most viewed stories from our readers in California in 2018, and the list was somewhat surprising – though perhaps it shouldn’t have been.  It was the kind of mix of thoughtful, original content from our reporters at State of Reform that our readers have come to expect – and which increasingly is found at fewer and fewer media outlets.

So, as you check out the list of the five most viewed stories in California for 2018, know how much we appreciate your engagement with us.  We now host three conferences per year: one in LA, one in San Diego, and one in Sacramento.  That Northern California event is coming up on May 9th (early bird rates are still available!).  That is only something that we could have done because of the support from you, our readers.

So, thank you for all of the wind you put in our sails.

4. Video: Aracely Navarro, The Children’s Partnership

Aracely Navarro is the Policy and Government Relations Manager at the Children’s Partnership. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss quality access to healthcare for children.

“We’re really thinking about coverage as a first step, but also utilization, access to quality, and actually having access. So, what does that look like? Can you be innovative in how you get your care? So, we’re looking at teledentistry, telehealth for mental health and behavioral health, and really meeting kids where they are.”


5. Long-Term Care for seniors with disabilities

In a report to the California Senate Health Committee, the Legislative Analyst’s Office gave an overview of the projected number and growth of seniors with disabilities in the state in the coming years. According to the report, preparing for the growing population and ensuring they have access to Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) will require additional planning from the legislature.

By the year 2060, California’s senior population is expected to more than double from 5.5 million (2017) to 13.4 million. Not only will the overall senior population grow, but the population of seniors with a disability is expected to grow at an even faster rate — in 2015, approximately one million California seniors had an “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL) limitation, by 2060 that number is projected to reach 2.7 million.