5 Things California: DHCS RFI, Legislative recap, What you missed

The current seven-day average of new daily cases statewide is 4,918. One month ago on August 1, the 7-day average was 8,026, a 39% reduction in new daily cases. The rate hasn’t been this low since June 25th.

Unfortunately, at this new, lower rate, one in 22 Californians will be infected with the virus over the next 12 months. The trend is downward, to be sure, but this is a number that strikes as a bit closer to home than many folks might otherwise have expected.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. What you missed: NorCal conference

Two weeks ago we hosted our 2020 Northern California State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference, bringing together over 400 attendees from across California’s health care ecosystem. We are grateful to the 60 speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise on some of the biggest challenges facing the health care system – including this panel with Sen. Holly Mitchell who discussed health care budget priorities heading into 2021.

A benefit of hosting this conference in the virtual space is that all of the panels were recorded and can still be accessed. If you were an attendee, you can sign in and access the videos through the Agenda tab here. If you weren’t able to make it to the event, you can access the recordings by contacting us directly.

2. DHCS released managed care RFI

DHCS released an RFI on Tuesday, requesting information on “goals for the Medi-Cal managed care delivery system to be achieved through the RFP process.” DHCS is also soliciting input on proposed changes to the MCP contracts.

Specifically, the Department is looking for recommendations for contract changes related to addressing health disparities and inequities, increasing community engagement, and emergency preparedness. They are also seeking information on other MCP goals that might present challenges. DHCS will host a webinar on the RFI on September 10; RFI responses are due 4pm on Thursday October 1, 2020.

3. Legislative session recap

Monday marked the final day of the 2020 legislative session, and with that came the last minute passage of several notable health-related pieces of legislation. Two of those bills include AB 890, the bill allowing some nurse practitioners to practice independently, and SB 793, a bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco products which Gov. Newsom signed on Friday.

Lawmakers also passed SB 275, which requires health care facilities to establish PPE stockpiles; SB 855, which expands the health treatments considered medically necessary for health insurance coverage; and AB 2118, a bill requiring health insurers to annually report information related to enrollment, premiums, cost-sharing, and benefits. Of note, SB 977 died in the legislature. This high-profile bill would have significantly expanded the state attorney general’s oversight of health care acquisitions and affiliations.


4. Putting summertime election polling in context

For the month of August, FiveThirtyEight’s average national polling shows Vice President Joe Biden with about an 8 point advantage over President Trump. But if we look back at presidential elections over the past 40 years, a lot can change between August polling and election day results. Remember when that July 1988 Gallup poll showed Michael Dukakis with a 17 point lead over George H.W. Bush? Jimmy Carter was ahead in August in 1980. Hilary Clinton was ahead in August in 2016.

The point is that things will move in this election quite a bit in the next 61 days between now and the election. One pollster recently estimated that about 10 percent of voters are likely undecided. Moreover, some Trump-friendly demographics are difficult to reach and there aren’t enough large sample, quality polls that succeed in including these voters. This creates quite a bit of volatility in the models as things as we look ahead to the next nine weeks.


5. Keep an eye on Orange County

If you’ve been keeping up with recent coverage of the 2020 presidential election, you might have noticed that some pollsters and pundits are paying close attention to the suburbs. This is happening for a few reasons, not least because suburban voters helped deliver Democrats the House of Representatives 2018, thanks in large part to defections from suburban women in places like Orange County, California.

Formerly a conservative Republican stronghold – the birthplace of Richard Nixon and the birthplace of Ronald Reagan’s career – Orange County was home to more Democratic voters than Republicans last year for the first time since a short period in 1978 following Watergate. Democrats flipped four seats in 2018 but Republicans are mounting strong challenges in three races this year. If Orange County is one bellwether of the suburban mood nationwide, these down-ballot races are worth watching.