Governor’s proposed plan would offer universal health care to Californians
Under Governor’s proposal, state will become first in the nation to offer universal access to health care coverage
– Following the unveiling of his 2022-23 state budget proposal – the California Blueprint – Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday visited a Central Valley health clinic to highlight his proposed healthcare investments, including a plan for universal access to health care coverage regardless of immigration status and new investments to lower costs and improve the lives of California’s most vulnerable residents.
“California is tackling the cost of health care head on,” said Governor Newsom, “Under the California Blueprint, our state will be the first to achieve universal access to health care coverage. Doubling down on our actions to reduce costs for middle-class families and expand access to important services, this proposal is a transformative step towards strengthening the health care system for all Californians. Everyone is healthier when everyone has access to quality, affordable care.”
The California Blueprint proposes providing a full expansion of Medi-Cal to all eligible Californians regardless of immigration status, including an estimated 764,000 undocumented immigrants. Medi-Cal has covered all low-income children regardless of immigration status since 2016. Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California in 2019 became the first state to extend Medi-Cal coverage to all eligible undocumented young adults up to the age of 26. Last year’s state budget which made California the first in the nation to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income adults age 50+, regardless of immigration status. The blueprint builds on that work by expanding full-scope eligibility to individuals ages 26-49, making Medi-Cal available to all income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status.
In addition to expanded access, the California Blueprint lays out a plan to address the underlying cost drivers of quality care and improve the affordability of health coverage in the state. The governor’s plan calls for the creation of an Office of Health Care Affordability, which will address underlying cost drivers and improve the affordability of health coverage, benefiting all Californians. Over the last several years, California has worked to reduce health care costs — expanding Covered California premium subsidies for the middle class; expanding access to Medi-Cal to young adults and older adults regardless of immigration status; and expanding coverage for preventive services, such as screening for adverse childhood experiences and for dementia.
“No other state in the country has done more in the space of health care access and affordability than the state of California,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “I am proud of this administration’s work to pioneer a comprehensive health care system that will become a national model for expanding access, reducing costs, improving services, and closing equity gaps.”
Further, the California Blueprint calls for $1.7 billion to bolster health infrastructure and support frontline workers by expanding and diversifying the state’s health and community care workforce, including through scholarships, loan repayments and grants. The plan also calls for new investments and increased resources for local health departments and Tribal Health Programs to enhance and strengthen their infrastructure to improve health outcomes.
Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California remains steadfastly committed to providing comprehensive reproductive health care services and preserving a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. To expand and protect the right to safe and accessible reproductive health services, the Blueprint will undertake a number of actions to maintain and improve access to these essential services, including increasing flexibilities for Medi-Cal providers to provide clinically appropriate medication abortion services and providing scholarships and loan repayments to health care providers that commit to providing reproductive health care services.
To address behavioral health services and provide help to those that need it most, the California Blueprint proposes investing $1.5 billion over two years for additional housing supports for those with behavioral health needs. In addition, the Blueprint proposes investing an additional $1.4 billion over five years to add multi-disciplinary mobile response services for crises related to mental health and substance use disorders as a new Medi-Cal benefit.
Last year, Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan provided unprecedented investments to improve the lives of all Californians, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable in our communities. These investments injected new resources in the behavioral health system while expanding access to children and youth, expanded and rehabilitated adult and senior care facilities, expanded Medi-Cal eligibility to older adults regardless of immigration status and of assets, expanded home and community based services, launched Medi-Cal Rx to negotiate drug prices, and committed to increasing subsidized child care by over 200,000 slots.