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CaHPSA E-Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 5
 

2019-20 Healthcare Legislation Overview
California takes bold steps toward a more equitable, affordable, and accessible healthcare system

California is leading the nation in implementing major healthcare reform bills that aim to make our system more inclusive and accessible. In this issue, we share some highlights from California’s 2019-20 legislative session and an update on the federal government’s proposed changes to “public charge” rules.

As members of the statewide Health4All and Care4AllCA coalitions, CaHPSA joins our fellow healthcare advocates in celebrating the passage of bills that will improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of our state’s healthcare system. We also recognize that much more can be done, so additional health reform bills will be introduced next year for the 2020-21 legislative session. We hope you’ll join us in continuing to advocate for a healthcare system that will work for ALL people!

2019-20 State Budget

The 2019-20 state budget was passed in June and includes the expansion of healthcare access and increased health insurance affordability.

Improved affordability assistance for middle-income Californians
Next year, there will be an increase in cost assistance for Covered California health insurance plans for Californians earning 200-600% of the federal poverty level (formerly Senate Bill 65).

Medi-Cal eligibility expansion to undocumented young adults
Starting in 2020, low-income, undocumented young adults ages 19-25 will be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal, which includes comprehensive coverage such as primary and preventive care. 
 

What about SB 29 Health for All Seniors? This year, we advocated for Senate Bill 29, also called Health for All Seniors, which would have expanded Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income, undocumented seniors (65+). SB 29 did not pass and was not signed into law this year. However, Governor Newsom has made a pledge to support Health for All Seniors next year. If Health for All Seniors is included in the 2020-21 state budget, it could go into effect sometime between July 2020 and January 2021. Advocacy opportunities will be available to all CaHPSA students!

 

2019-20 Healthcare Legislation
The following health reform bills were proposed by state legislators and were signed by Governor Newsom. Read about additional bills here.

Improving and Protecting Health Coverage

  • AB 1309: Extend the Covered California open enrollment deadline to January 31st of each year so consumers have extra time to consider and sign up for health insurance.
  • AB 1088: Stop seniors and persons with disabilities from losing free Medi-Cal access due to a confusing Medi-Cal rule about counting income.
  • SB 260: Help Californians avoid coverage gaps when they experience significant life events that may result in the loss of Medi-Cal or private health insurance coverage. 

Improving Health Equity

  • SB 464: Aim to lower maternal mortality rates among black women by requiring perinatal providers to complete implicit bias training.

Improving Transparency and Reducing Health Care Prices

  • AB 731: Improve and standardize the rate review of health insurance premiums, which may save Californians millions of dollars. 
  • AB 824: Prevent “pay-for-delay” agreements in which drug companies postpone the release of lower-cost generic prescription drugs to keep the drug prices high for a longer time period. 
  • AB 929: Require Covered California (the state’s health insurance marketplace) to publish its collected data on efforts to reduce costs, improve quality, and reduce disparities.
What is Health4All and Care4AllCA?
 
CaHPSA is thrilled to be a coalition partner of Health4All and Care4AllCA. The Health4All campaign helps to drive a dialogue about moving our healthcare system to one that is inclusive of all Californians, regardless of immigration status. Care4AllCA is a coalition of consumer, community, labor, progressive, and health care organizations working to advance the goal of quality affordable health care for all Californians. The Care4All California policy agenda leverages what is achievable in California without significant federal approval to make measurable progress toward universal coverage. Many of the bills in this newsletter were proposed by Care4AllCA coalition members.

Public Charge

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services defines public charge as an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.”

The public charge test may be used for individuals who: apply to enter the U.S., apply to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), or are a Legal Permanent Resident that left the U.S. for 180 consecutive days & re-enters. This test may determine if individuals are granted status as lawful permanent residents based on factors such as age, health, family status, financial status, and education/skills. Currently, there are two public benefits that are reviewed for this test.

In 2018, the federal government proposed changes to the public charge rules. Under these new proposed rules, using certain healthcare, housing, and nutrition assistance services could potentially make people ineligible for legal permanent status. The proposed changes include: more heavily favoring those who have an income 250% of Federal Poverty Guidelines or higher; having harsher standards for those with children, seniors, limited English proficiency, limited education, medical conditions, and large families; and adding public benefits such as Medi-Cal (Medicaid), Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, CalFresh (SNAP) nutrition assistance, and housing assistance as a heavily weighted negative factor. 




















On October 11, 2019, three federal judges, including one from California, temporarily blocked the implementation of the proposed changes to the public charge rules. As of now, the changes will not go into effect.
 

CaHPSA's Statement on the Proposed Public Charge Rules
 
"California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA) strongly opposes the proposed public charge rule. Instilling a fear of punitive action among people who need access to health care ultimately creates greater public health challenges for families and our communities. As future health professionals, the medical and undergraduate student members of CaHPSA firmly reject this proposed regulation on both moral and public health grounds."
Welcome to our new CaHPSA members!

Thank you for signing up for our newsletters and joining CaHPSA’s statewide network of student advocates who believe healthcare is a human right. Email us at info@cahpsa.org to learn more and get involved.

If you stopped by our Exhibitor booth at the 2019 UC Davis Pre-Health Conference, we hope you’ll consider taking on a leadership role and/or becoming a volunteer! Previous experience is not required.

 Leadership and volunteer opportunities for all CaHPSA members 

Start a CaHPSA chapter on your campus
  • Join our growing statewide network of campus chapters.
  • We're looking for chapter leaders on ALL college and university campuses!
Join a CaHPSA chapter on your campus
  • Check out this map and contact us to get involved.
Community Outreach Opportunities
  • Health Policy Sessions Project: Train as a policy presenter and give group presentations on healthcare reform and advocacy to community stakeholders, including healthcare providers in underserved communities.
  • Project White Coat: Become a Certified Enrollment Counselor (CEC) and help people in your community with their Covered California application for health plans or Medi-Cal eligibility. Apply here.
Committees
  • Media Committee (MC)
    • Learn more here
    • Use web and social media to promote our mission and engage students.
  • Research Communications Committee (RCOM)
    • Learn more here
    • Help produce print and online publications that will be used for educational and advocacy purposes like these: 1 | 2
      • Join the Newsletter Team to publish monthly informative newsletters
  • Event Organizing
    • Help organize regional advocacy and skill-building events such as our Activate U conference.
Other Opportunities
  • Attend legislative visits with fellow advocates to speak with your lawmakers.
  • Attend a mentoring session with a CaPA physician.
  • Share your ideas! We always welcome new proposals from CaHPSA members, so feel free to reach out if you'd like to propose an idea.
Stay tuned for our next issue of the CaHPSA E-Newsletter!

Issue 1 available here
Issue 2 available here
Issue 3 available here
Issue 4 available here

Questions? Suggestions for future newsletters? Contact us


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

1137 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 482-0256 | info@caphysiciansalliance.org

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