July 12, 2022
The California Legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed the 2022-23 state budget, which continues California’s commitment to achieving universal health care access. The $308-billion budget addresses many key priorities of the California Medical Association (CMA), including 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.
“CMA and the physicians of California applaud Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature for crafting a budget that prioritizes universal health care access and coverage for all Californians,” says CMA President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “This year’s budget officially makes California the first state in the nation to expand its Medicaid program to provide full benefits to all eligible individuals regardless of age or documentation status. We believe this is a critical step in our shared goal of ensuring that every Californian has access to quality health care.”
Below are highlights of some key health care provisions included in the final budget:
- Permanently extends key telehealth flexibilities implemented during the pandemic in the Medi-Cal program, ensuring payment parity for providers utilizing audio/visual, audio-only, and asynchronous store-and-forward technologies;
- $300 million annually for public health departments across the state, as well as an additional $75 million one-time for public health workforce development;
- Expansion of full scope Medi-Cal to all eligible individuals regardless of age or documentation status, eliminating the existing age limitations;
- Continuous Medi-Cal coverage for all income eligible children age 0-5 years old to prevent coverage churn of this population during these critical developmental years;
- Full funding for the Prop. 56 Medi-Cal supplemental payments and GME programs;
- Major investments in health care workforce development, including $351.6 million in addition to that already included provided in the May Revision proposal;
- $1.3 billion for health care worker retention pay, which will provide a financial stipend for every individual working in eligible hospital settings, including physicians.
- $700 million in equity and practice transformation payments to better meet the needs of the Medi-Cal population. $200 million of this funding is meant to assist practices shift to alternative payment models as envisioned in the Office of Health Care Affordability legislation; and
- $200 million for reproductive health and reproductive justice issues, including $40 million for uncompensated care reimbursement to providers of reproductive health services.
"From investments in our health care workforce and the public health infrastructure, to the permanent telehealth expansion and funding for key health care programs, the budget demonstrates a commitment to reducing health disparities and improving access to quality care,” says Dr. Wailes. "CMA looks forward to our ongoing work with the Legislature and the Governor to continue strengthening our health care system to ensure that the promise of universal access is not an empty one and that patients have timely and unencumbered access to affordable, high-quality care.”