5 Things California: Asm. Marie Waldron, Covered California, Kellie Todd Griffin

In this time of gratitude, I want to share my thanks to our team at State of Reform. They are smart, hard working, and brave – and an honor to work with. Emily Boerger is often my right and left hand in writing 5 Things, and completely invaluable. So, thank you, Emily.

And, thank you for reading our stuff. Here are 5 Things We’re Watching in California health care for the latter half of December, 2019.  Merry Christmas and happy holidays!



With help from Emily Boerger


1. Keynote: One on One Conversations

Our Morning Keynote session at the 2019 Southern California State of Reform Conference featured three of California’s most interesting and thoughtful health care and health policy leaders. In a series of “One on One Conversations,” we talked through their approaches to health reform from each of three disparate perspectives.

The keynote conversations feature Dimitrios Alexiou, CEO of Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Beth Andersen, President, CA Commercial Business, Anthem Blue Cross, and Brianna Lierman, CEO of Local Health Plans of California. I commend each of them to you, as they all share thoughts with statewide implications.


2. Asm. Marie Waldron on the 2020 legislature

Asm. Marie Waldron is one of the most influential Republican legislators in Sacramento. She serves as the Republican Leader in the California Assembly and also serves on the Assembly Health Committee.

Asm. Waldron offered her health policy perspective at the Southern California State of Reform Conference where she rounded out the day with our Afternoon Keynote. Her presentation spoke to what she deemed as the 5 most pressing health issues that need to be addressed in 2020 — opioid/substance abuse, homelessness, access, mental health, and vaping. It was a roadmap for the future of policy making in Sacramento.

3. An update on CalAIM

This week we’ve compiled a list of resources and presentations that offer a look into the latest developments for CalAIM. HMA Managing Principal Margaret Tatar’s presentation at the SoCal conference earlier this month offered an in-depth look at the initiative detailing the new requirements, the targeted populations, and CalAIM’s impacts on plans, providers, counties, CBOs, and members. The presentation also features a detailed timeline of milestones for CalAIM – both near term and in the future.

Also, this week two of the five CalAIM workgroups will hold meetings to continue the process of revising and refining the final proposal. On Thursday, the Enhanced Care Management and In Lieu of Services Workgroup will take a “deep dive” into enhanced care management and discuss a financing overview. The Behavioral Health Workgroup will review changes to medical necessity criteria on Friday.


4. Video: Kellie Todd Griffin, Promise Health Plan

Kellie Todd Griffin is the Director of Community Engagement at Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss community trauma and how it impacts youth. In particular, her comments focus on the community partnerships Blue Shield of California is making with organizations that provide services to youth experiencing trauma.

“We really are working with a lot of youth around childhood resiliency because they’re experiencing some community trauma and adverse childhood experiences that we know will have a greater impact on their health when they become adults. And so, we want to be on the front end of it to really, kind of, intervene and create partnerships with organizations that provide those services to them.”


5. New Covered CA data

Prior to announcing an extended enrollment deadline, Covered California released new open enrollment data for the year. The December 12th data shows a 16% increase in new plan selections compared to last year, which Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee says is due in large part to the state’s new individual mandate penalty and new subsidies aimed to help the middle class.

Covered California announced that nearly half a million Californians have been determined eligible for the new subsidies, and approximately 23,000 of those individuals are in the 400% to 600% range of the federal poverty level. The data also shows that so far, over 1.13 million Californians have renewed their plans for next year.