January 07, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Public Health
Within hours of being sworn in as California’s 40th governor on Monday, Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will help control health care costs and expand access to care for millions of Californians.
Gov. Newsom announced the creation of the nation’s first state-run purchasing program for prescription drugs to help bring down costs via bulk purchasing. He also announced his intention to expand Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented Californians up to age 26. (California current allows anyone under age 19 to receive Medi-Cal benefits, regardless of immigration status.)
The governor also plans to create a state mandate for all Californians to carry health insurance, and to expand subsidies for those purchasing health coverage through the state’s health exchange, Covered California. Currently, subsidies are available to individuals making up to $48,000 per year, or 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The Newsom administration plans to both increase the size of subsidies and to make them available to individuals making up to $72,840 (or families earning up to $150,060).
More details are expected on Thursday when Newsom unveils his budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, but many of the governor’s moves on Monday reflect long-standing priorities for the California Medical Association (CMA).
“Gov. Newsom is backing up his words with action, helping make health care more affordable and available to all Californians,” said CMA President David H. Aizuss, M.D. “By making this his first act as governor, he is sending a clear signal that expanding access to care will be a top priority for his administration.”
You can read the full text of Newsom’s executive order here.