Budget proposal positions CA to be first state to achieve universal health care access and coverage

January 11, 2022

On Monday, January 10, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom released his initial proposal for the 2022-23 California state budget. The Administration remains committed to access to care for all Californians, dedicating more than 22% of both the General Fund and total budgets to health expenditures.

“By positioning California to be the first state in the nation to fully realize universal health care access and coverage, Governor Newsom’s bold and balanced budget will strengthen our health care system and protect patients,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Robert E. Wailes, M.D.

Notably, the Governor has proposed a phased-in system to provide full scope Medi-Cal coverage to all income eligible Californians regardless of age or documentation status by January 1, 2024. The proposal also maintains full funding for the Proposition 56 (tobacco tax) supplemental payments, including a $176 million General Fund backfill of the payment program due to the declining revenues from cigarette taxes.

In conjunction with efforts by CMA, the Governor has also proposed $400 million in provider grants to reduce disparities in the health care system and improve access to and quality of care for children’s preventative health, maternity care and integrated behavioral health services. The goal of these grants is to assist providers in accessing tools that will enable their practices to serve more individuals who lack access to quality care.

“We thank the Governor for his leadership in maintaining state funding levels that support patient access to critical Medi-Cal programs, transformative investments in behavioral and mental health care, and innovative incentives to improve equity in health care,” said Dr. Wailes.

The budget subcommittees in both the Senate and Assembly will begin meeting to review and debate the Governor’s proposed budget starting in February, going back to a more normal budget cycle after the past two pandemic budgets. CMA will remain engaged throughout the budget process to ensure that our health care systems have the support needed to provide care to all Californians during the pandemic and beyond.

“Physician practices face unprecedented demands and CMA looks forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor to ensure the health care needs of every Californian are met,” say Dr. Wailes. 

For more details on the budget as it relates to health care, see CMA’s summary of the 2022-23 state budget proposal.


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