CPEHN Commends Governor Newsom for Upholding Vital Health Care Safety Net Amid Budget Challenges, Urges Addressing Wealth Disparity for State’s Vulnerable Residents
Sacramento, CA – CPEHN commends Governor Newsom for preserving California’s health care safety net in the face of a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. Critical programs that support California’s most vulnerable residents should never be on the table for budget cuts. These programs provide children, families, and workers with basic health, financial, and food support. California made history on January 1st when we became the first state in the county to remove the unjust exclusion of undocumented immigrants from our Medi-Cal program. The budget maintains this commitment, as well as other key Medi-Cal improvements made in recent years.
At the same time, we must do better. The wealthiest Californians continue to benefit richly while those who keep the state running struggle to make ends meet. The Governor and Legislature must consider strategies to raise and stabilize revenues while closing California’s extreme and unacceptable racial wealth gap. We cannot expect to achieve health or racial equity while we allow a tiny number of wealthy people and corporations to maintain their status at the expense of the 5 million California children, families, and workers living in poverty.
CPEHN commends the Governor for preserving the Medi-Cal expansion for income-eligible undocumented adults, the removal of the Medi-Cal asset test, and other key Medi-Cal program improvements.
We support the Department of Health Care Services in seeking an amendment from the federal government to the Managed Care Organization tax in order to raise more revenue. However, we are disappointed that the Governor continues to exclude community health workers from the provider rate increases supported by the MCO tax. As it stands, community health workers would not receive a rate increase even when they provide the same service as another provider receiving a rate increase. The current rate for community health workers is too low to ensure a living wage, and severely threatens the success of this Medi-Cal benefit.
Finally, we believe that the underlying budget problem is economic inequality and California’s dramatic and unacceptable racial wealth gap. As such, the only true budget solution is to reform our tax system so that those with extreme wealth, which has been amassed as a result of historical and present-day systemic racism and racialized poverty, pay their fair share.