The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2023
Contact: Kiran Savage-Sangwan – (530) 574-2551
Governor Newsom Releases $297 Billion Budget that Advances California Toward Universal Health Care Coverage but Fails to Provide Necessary Investments in Health Equity
Sacramento, CA- The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network released the following statement upon the release of the Governor’s proposed $297 billion budget:
“Despite the expected $22.5 billion shortfall within the budget, CPEHN is grateful that Governor Newsom has proposed no cuts to eligibility or benefits within Medi-Cal, and continued the commitment to Health4All, to cover all income-eligible Californians in Medi-Cal, regardless of age or immigration status, beginning in 2024. Medi-Cal is the cornerstone of health equity in California. The Governor’s commitment to reforming and expanding the program is laudable.
“Instead of taking additional steps this year to advance California to universality, Governor Newsom is attempting to transfer more than $300 million from the individual mandate penalty which was approved for the specific purpose of making health care more affordable and ensuring greater access to care for Covered California beneficiaries (e.g. by strengthening subsidies, eliminating deductibles, reducing cost-sharing and capping out-of-pocket costs), to cover other budget priorities instead. Furthermore, CPEHN is concerned with the impact on vulnerable communities of reducing certain COVID-19 pandemic response spending, including public health outreach, at a time when COVID-19 rates are trending up again, bivalent booster rates are lagging, and new variants are emerging. Lastly, we are disappointed that there are no new investments focused on health equity, for example by investing in innovation for racial justice or enhancing data to reduce disparities.
“While there is modest investment in the Office of Planning and Research to establish the Racial Equity Commission, significant statutory fixes are needed for the Commission to achieve meaningful outcomes for California’s communities of color.
“There is still critical work to do despite the temporary budget deficit. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to advance health equity, racial justice, access, and public health in the year ahead. Expanding health equity and access will take a long-term vision and unwavering commitment. Our shared values of equity and justice will help us usher in a better future for all Californians.”