Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced the launch of the Healthy California for All Commission and appointed health experts in business, philanthropy, academia and labor to serve on the new board.
The commission will develop a plan for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system for California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including but not limited to a single-payer financing system. The commission will prepare an initial report to the governor and Legislature by July, with a final report expected in February 2021. The first meeting will take place on Jan. 27 in Sacramento.
The announcement was made on Dec. 18, the same day as Covered California, the state’s publicly run insurance exchange, announced that a total of 230,000 new consumers have selected a plan during open enrollment. The figure represents a 16% increase over the same time last year. Additionally, more than 1.15 million existing consumers have had their plans renewed for the upcoming year. California’s individual market consistently ranks among the healthiest in the nation, helping unsubsidized consumers save about $1,550 annually in 2018 on their premiums compared to consumers in the federal marketplace.
“California leads the nation in enacting progressive health care reforms – taking big steps toward universal coverage and passing first in the nation measures to make health care more affordable for families,” Newsom said. “As our march toward universal coverage continues, I am calling on the brightest minds from [the] public and private sectors to serve in the Healthy California for All Commission to improve the health of our state.”
The commission has 13 voting members including California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly, eight gubernatorial appointees and four legislative appointees. There are also five non-voting members.
“We believe that every Californian should have a right to affordable health care regardless of wealth, zip code, race, disability or gender. Yet, despite many gains in coverage, nearly 3 million Californians lack health care and high costs burden too many families,” said Ghaly, who will serve as chair of the commission. “The role of the Healthy California for All Commission will be to provide policy recommendations that will set us on the path toward high-quality, affordable universal coverage for all.”
Throughout his first year in office, the governor and Legislature have worked to bring California closer to universal health care by expanding coverage, increasing Covered California subsidies for middle-income Californians and addressing rising prescription drug prices. The 2019-20 state budget invests $1.45 billion over three years to increase Covered California health insurance premium support for low-income residents – and provides premium support for the first time to qualified middle-income individuals earning up to $72,000, and families of four earning up to $150,000. The support is partially funded by restoration of an enforceable individual mandate. It expands Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible undocumented young adults ages 19-25 and includes an increase of $1 billion, using Prop 56 funding, to support increased rates to Medi-Cal providers, expanded family planning services and value-based payments that encourage more effective treatment of patients with chronic conditions.
For information, visit gov.ca.gov.