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California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared his $209 billion state budget proposal, of which health care accounts for nearly 30 percent, “a reflection of our values.” The governor projects a massive $21.5 billion surplus as growth slows for Medi-Cal. Now he must negotiate with the legislature on a final budget by June 15 — so some of these proposals are certain to change or be eliminated.
Media outlets take a look at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal for health care, including reinstating the individual mandate for Californians and taking steps toward a universal coverage system.
A Harvard/Politico poll geared to take the temperature of Americans’ health care views found that while support for a plan like “Medicare for All” was mostly coming from Democrats, even Republicans were receptive to allowing Americans under 65 to buy into Medicare as another option. Americans from both parties were also in overwhelming agreement that lawmakers should make sure insurance companies provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions
Michael Martinez previously worked in Gilead’s life sciences sector. Gilead, in turn, disclosed in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as recently as Nov. 6 that the California Department of Insurance and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office issued subpoenas in October 2017 requesting documents related to its marketing, and interactions with specialty pharmacies.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, ruling on a suit brought by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, says that the law was invalidated when Congress dropped the tax penalty for not having coverage. Advocates for the law say they will appeal the decision.
The state is expecting an “extraordinary” budget surplus of $14.8 billion for the 2019-20 fiscal year, to go with $14.5 billion it has already put in rainy-day reserves, the legislative analyst’s office said in November.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the expected incoming House Ways and Means chairman, signaled his willingness to hold hearings on “Medicare for all,” a popular priority for many progressive lawmakers in the party. Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, health care costs are in the spotlight, as well as a bill aimed at reversing the country’s maternal mortality rates.
Although the nation spent $3.5 trillion on health last year, federal economists found that the increase in health expenses did not exceed the growth in the overall economy.
In the first five weeks of the enrollment period, 3.2 million Americans signed up for health insurance coverage through healthcare.gov. In the same period last year, 3.6 million enrolled. Enrollment on the federal exchanges close Dec. 15, while Covered California’s sign-up period runs through Jan. 15, 2019.
Although California’s statistics are better than other rates, the number of uninsured children in the state has stagnated at 3.1 percent. Some are worried, though, that it’s a sign California’s marketplaces are starting to feel the impact of national efforts to chip away at the health law.