CaHPSA E-Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 11

COVID-19: State and Federal Level Policy Responses
An overview of policies and legislation focused on aid and recovery

During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, policy interventions are critical for meeting essential health needs and promoting economic recovery. In this issue, we feature some policies and legislation that have been proposed or approved to address this public health crisis at the state and federal level. 

State-Level Responses to COVID-19
The following are some policies and legislation that have been proposed or approved in California to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. A more in-depth and growing list of our state's responses is available here

Approved: Emergency COVID-19 legislation providing up to $1.1 billion in state funding 

Approved: Health insurance enrollment period extension and free COVID-19 testing
  • On March 20, Covered California, our state health insurance marketplace, extended its enrollment period through June 30, 2020 to expand access to health coverage during this pandemic. It was also announced that all medically necessary COVID-19 testing and screening will be free. Those who are uninsured and eligible for coverage will now be able to sign up for a health plan through the end of June. Over 50,000 Californians applied in the first three weeks of the extension, among them are individuals who have experienced qualifying life events and job loss (and subsequent loss of employment-based health insurance) during this crisis.
  • CaHPSA in Action: As we continue advocating for larger-scale systemic reform, CaHPSA also supports efforts to improve health access and coverage right now. As part of Project White Coat, CaHPSA has Certified Enrollment Counselors throughout the state who can assist individuals and families with their Covered California application. Contact us to learn more or get involved! 
Proposed: Preserve and strengthen the SEED Initiative in the Governor’s initial 2020 state budget
  • The $10 million Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) Initiative would promote immigrant entrepreneurship by offering micro-grants and entrepreneur training to immigrants who are interested in starting small businesses that address social and community needs. Funding would help vulnerable communities that face major employment barriers, including those with limited English proficiency, undocumented individuals, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
  • CaHPSA in Action: CaHPSA joined over 100 labor and community organizations by signing on to a SEED support letter to Gov. Newsom sent on April 3. We also submitted a public comment for the State Assembly Budget Hearing on April 27.

Proposed: Preserve and expedite the removal of immigration status as a barrier to full-scope Medi-Cal for California seniors age 65+

Approved: New COVID-19 disaster assistance fund for working undocumented adult Californians

CaHPSA will continue to support current bills and programs that offer immediate relief to patients and healthcare workers, while remaining committed to advocating for larger-scale reform so that we can build a better healthcare system, one that works for ALL people.

Federal-Level Responses to COVID-19
Below are the four federal COVID-19 relief bills that have been passed by the U.S. House and Senate, and then signed by the President. Also featured is a congressional proposal that would provide health care for all. 

Approved: H.R.6074 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (Relief Package #1)

Approved: H.R. 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Relief Package #2)
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCR) was enacted on March 18 and provided $104 billion in aid for free COVID-19 testing, 14-day paid sick leave, increased food stamp assistance, and expanded unemployment benefits. 
Approved: H.R. 748 - CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act (Relief Package #3)

Approved: H.R.266 - Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Relief Package #4)

Proposed: Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (Sanders/Jayapal)

  • On April 10, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) released the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, a proposal to provide universal health coverage during this COVID-19 crisis. If enacted, our existing federal Medicare program would cover “all of the costs of treatment for the uninsured, and cover all out-of-pocket costs for those with public or private insurance, for as long as this pandemic continues.” 
  • CaHPSA in Action: CaHPSA and CaPA, our parent organization, formally support this proposed legislation and hope our elected officials will recognize the importance of providing health care for ALL during this public health crisis. 
CaHPSA Virtual Engagement Opportunities
In the spirit of community-building during a time of physical distancing, CaHPSA and CaPA are hosting live virtual events to create engaging content and spaces for our members to connect with leadership, physicians, staff, and fellow advocates!

Sign up for CaHPSA virtual events HERE.
Sign up for CaPA virtual events HERE.

In April, we hosted:
  • CaPA Webinar: Assessment of the COVID-19 Crisis and Its Implications for Reform
  • CaHPSA/CaPA Statewide Mentoring Session
  • CaPA Webinar: Early-Career Physician Perspective on COVID-19
  • CaHPSA Webinar: Medical Student Perspective on COVID-19 and Its Implications for Reform
  • CaHPSA Check-In Session
Coming up in May and June:
  • CaPA Webinar: Impact of COVID-19 on Labor and Community-Based Organizations
  • CaHPSA Webinar: Applying a Social Justice Lens to Health Care
  • CaHPSA Mentoring Session: Chapter Development
  • CaHPSA Webinar: Advocacy Tutorial
  • CaHPSA Check-In Session
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Contact CaHPSA
Stay tuned for our next issue of the CaHPSA E-Newsletter!
Read our past newsletters here

Questions? Suggestions for future newsletters? Contact us

CaHPSA is the student section of California Physicians Alliance (CaPA).
California Physicians Alliance
California Health Professional Student Alliance

1137 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
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