Governor’s Budget, to be released Thursday, critical to health care access in California

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown will release his proposed budget for the 2016-17 state budget, which has major implications for California’s health care system. Health Access California is tracking the following budget issues on behalf of California’s health care consumers:

HEALTH BUDGET OVERALL: “We are now years past the recession but Californians are still living with recession-era cuts to health and human services, With yet another surplus created out of the cuts of the past, it’s high time to restore key services, from vital public health programs to Medi-Cal benefit and rates,” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Governor Brown should be proud of California’s huge progress made under the Affordable Care Act; we hope he builds on that success in this budget, including covering all Californians, regardless of immigration status. The big question is whether the California comeback extends to the health and human programs so many Californians rely on, or whether the Governor proposes to continue the cuts made in the recent recession. Public health programs, Medi-Cal benefits, and provider rates were all proposed for restoration in the Legislature last year and should be considered again by legislators if not addressed the Governor.”

MCO TAX: “We were disappointed that the health insurance industry did not agree on a revamped and renewed MCO tax last year, in order to maintain $1 billion in state and federal funding, but we have hope in the new year. As much as we need to renew the MCO tax, we shouldn’t use the state’s most vulnerable as leverage in these negotiations.” said Wright.

KEY HEALTH POLICY DECISIONS: Advocates will also look to the budget as a venue for discussing key health policy questions, from tobacco taxes and control, to the expansion of managed care to seniors and people with disabilities. “The Governor recently vetoed a bill to limit Medi-Cal estate recovery, arguing the policy change should be done in the budget instead. We will vigorously pursue this change, so some Californians don’t fear that their loved ones lose the family home as a result of signing up for coverage,” said Wright. “Our biggest priority is taking the momentum of the Affordable Care Act, and the recent agreement to cover all children, regardless of immigration status, to take further steps to cover all Californians. California has been a leader in including immigrants in our society and investing in our future–the next and most vital step is in health care.”

About Health Access
Health Access California is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, advocating for the goal of quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Health Access Foundation undertakes community organizing and education, applied research, and policy analysis, and advocates for reform to benefit health care consumers, both insured and uninsured. We represent consumers in the legislature, at administrative and regulatory agencies, in the media, and at public forums. For more info, please visit