CA Bills Aim to Improve Health-Care Access, Affordability
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable.
The Care 4 All California coalition, which includes more than 70 organizations, unveiled a set of 10 bills Wednesday in Sacramento.
Andrea Rivera, senior legislative advocate for the California Pan Ethnic Health Network, said grassroots support can make big things happen.
"Historically, communities of color, we're not invested in," Rivera pointed out. "Together, we are stronger, louder, and more powerful. Together, we cannot be ignored."
The coalition sees the bills as a series of steps on the way to achieving universal coverage by bringing down costs and removing barriers to care.
Right now, the Affordable Care Act bars undocumented people from purchasing health coverage through the Covered California marketplace.
Asm. Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, introduced a bill to ask the feds for a waiver.
"That's why I introduced a before this year, a bill that will end the unjust exclusion of our undocumented community from Covered California," Arambula explained. "We have to create a health care system that is more universal, affordable and equitable for all Californians."
Asm. Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, authored Assembly Bill 1208 to eliminate deductibles and lower copays for people on Covered California Silver plans. She wrote a second bill to allow Medi-Cal to offer additional services to new mothers.
"AB 608 would expand a mother's access to perinatal health workers who screen for postpartum depression, help with child nutrition, and provide a warm handoff to a host of other social services," Schiavo outlined.
Other bills in the package aim to eliminate surprise ambulance bills, require private health plans to cover things like wheelchairs when prescribed by a doctor, improve access to mental health care for youths, increase oversight of health care mergers, and improve financial transparency from medical groups.
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