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CaliforniACA November Newsletter

ITUP’s 17th Annual Conference
Registration for our 17th annual conference is now open!  Confirmed speakers include:

  • John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO, Small Business Majority
  • Kim Belshé, Executive Director, First 5 L.A.
  • Diana Bontá, CEO, The California Wellness Foundation
  • Alex Briscoe, Director, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency
  • Diana Dooley, Secretary, CA Dept. of Health and Human Services
  • Toby Douglas, Director, CA Department of Health Care Services
  • Paul Fearer, Board Member, CA Health Benefit Exchange
  • Jon Freedman, Chief of Strategy, L.A. Care Health Plan
  • Dean Germano, CEO, Shasta Community Health Center
  • Ken Jacobs, Chair, Center for Labor Research and Education – UC Berkeley
  • Howard Kahn, CEO, L.A. Care Health Plan
  • Mitch Katz, Director, L.A. County Dept. of Health Services
  • Peter Lee, Executive Director, CA Health Benefit Exchange
  • Peter Long, CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Louise McCarthy, President and CEO, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County
  • Marian Mulkey, Director of Health Reform & Public Program Initiative, California HealthCare Foundation
  • Katherine Neuhausen, Clinical Instructor, UCLA Department of Family Medicine
  • David Panush, Director of Government Relations, CA Health Benefit Exchange
  • Robert Ross, President & CEO, The California Endowment
  • Andy Schneider, Consultant
  • Rusty Selix, Executive Director, Mental Health Association ofCalifornia
  • Marvin Southard, Director, L.A. Department of Mental Health
  • Alan Weil, Executive Director, National Academy for State Health Policy

For more information, please visit our website.

The California Health Benefit Exchange
November Board Meeting Discusses Consumer Assistance/Ombudsman Program, Tribal Consultation Policy and Application for Federal Financial Support
During the November meeting, the Exchange board provided updates on the CalHEERS project, service center operations, and Exchange naming and branding.  Additionally, the board voted to adopt staff recommendations on qualified health plan (QHP) solicitation and regulationtribal consultation policyconsumer assistance/ombudsman program, and the state’s federal establishment support and blueprint application (Level 2 grant).

The next meeting will be held on December 18, 2012 in Sacramento, and will discuss health equity, assisters program requirements, and eligibility/enrollment policy.  A potential decision may be made on the outreach and education grant program.  All meeting materials are availableonline.

Legislation
Voters Pass Governor’s Tax Plan, Ban on Multistate Business Tax Breaks
With a 54% majority, Governor Brown’s compromise tax plan passed on November 6.  Also known as Proposition 30, the ballot initiative will increase the personal tax on annual income in excess of $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples; extend income taxes on the wealthy from 5 to 7 years; and increase the sales tax by 0.25% for four years.  Molly Munger’s rival tax plan, Proposition 38, received less than 30% support, and failed to pass. Voters also passed Proposition 39, which would eliminate tax breaks for multistate businesses.   The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates that the state could generate $6 billion annually between 2012-13 and 2016-17 through Proposition 30; theCalifornia Budget Project (CBP) projects that Proposition 39 will generate an estimated $1 billion in additional state revenues, and would grow over time.

Special Session Delayed To January 2013
The special session, which was called by the Governor to focus on ACA-related legislation, will be held concurrently with the regular session that will begin on January 7, 2013.  It had been previously speculated that the special session would be held in December of this year.

Budget
With November Election Results, LAO Fiscal Outlook Shows Promising Economic Future
The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently released its annual fiscal outlook report, which showed that the budget situation has vastly improved, with a projected $1.9 billion budget problem to be addressed by June 2013.  Assuming the continuation of a steady economic recovery, the LAO projects that there is a strong likelihood that the state will have budgetary surpluses in subsequent years and be able to begin to pay down debt.  The full report is available online.

Medi-Cal
DHCS Releases Phase 1 Network Adequacy Report in Preparation for Healthy Families Transition
Mere months before the beginning of the transition of Healthy Families children into the Medi-Cal program, DHCS has released its Phase 1 Network Adequacy report.  The first phase of the transition will be split into two parts, with Part A starting January 1 and Part B starting March 1, 2013.  The report concludes that all health and dental plans in Part A of Phase 1 have adequate networks and provider capacity, with the exception of HealthNet in San Diego County. Part A includes Alameda, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego (except HealthNet), San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties; Part B is comprised of 17 additional counties, including Los Angeles County.

Challenge to CBAS Enrollment Denied by Federal Judge
A federal judge denied a motion that would have forced DHCS to alter its eligibility and enrollment procedures for the new Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) program.  Disability Rights California (DRC), the advocacy group that filed the motion, has until December 1, 2012 to appeal the ruling.  The CBAS program was developed in part from asettlement agreement when DRC challenged the state’s plans to eliminate the Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) benefit for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.  As of September 2012, approximately 2,400 former ADHC beneficiaries have outstanding appeals of eligibility, or are awaiting a decision from DHCS.

Provider Capacity
UC Regents Request $15M for New Medical School
Following the passage of Proposition 30, the University of California regents plan to request $15 million in state funding to support the UC-Riverside School of Medicine, which is slated to open in 2013.  The new medical school’s mission is to focus on training primary care physicians, who would remain in the Inland Empire, which is a medically underserved area.

Health Disparities
Clinton Foundation to Launch Health Disparities Project in Coachella Valley
The William J. Clinton Foundation announced an initiative to reduce health disparities in the state’s Coachella Valley, which has some of the highest health disparities in the US.  The initiative seeks to reduce disparities resulting from education, income levels and race.  General Electric, Tenet Healthcare and Verizon have been announced as corporate partners.

Data
CA Hospitals Rank 11th in Patient Safety
In their national report card on patient safety, the Leapfrog Group found that CA hospitals ranked 11th in the nation.  Additionally, of the 246 CAhospitals, 92 (37%) received an A grade, 56 (23%) a B grade, and 98 (40%) a grade of C or lower.  Nationally, only 19% of all hospitals received an A grade, and 44% received grades of C or lower.  The report was based on 26 measures of data, such as adherence to recommended methods of care, bedsores, falls in the hospital, and frequency of bloodline infections.

Added State Medicaid Costs from ACA Expansion to be Minor
A study by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured foundthat the additional cost of implementing Medicaid expansion is small relative to total state Medicaid spending.  Between 2013-2022, Californiais projected to spend only 3.8% more state funds on an expanded Medi-Cal program while increasing enrollment by almost 2 million in 2022.

Anthem Blue Cross and University of California Announce Project on Health Care Policy
Anthem Blue Cross of California and the University of Californiaannounced the California Health Alliance, a collaborative project that will focus on developing health care policy and improving access to care inCA.  Medical and health professional schools in the UC system will participate in this project, which aims to develop research, policy and best practices on improving the health care system.

USC Study Finds 11% of CA Children Lacked Health Insurance in 2011
According to a study by the USC Keck School of Medicine, about 11% ofCA children lacked health insurance in 2011, which was higher than the national average.  Also, between 2002 and 2011, public coverage through Medi-Cal and the Healthy Families program increased by 46%, while employer-based coverage declined by 16% during that time.

New Poverty Measure Shows CA Has Highest Poverty Rate in US
According to the new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) by the Census Bureau, California has the highest poverty rate in the US, with 23.5% of its residents living at or below poverty level; under the traditional method of calculating poverty rates, the state’s poverty rate is lower at 16.3%.  To replace the current system that was devised in the 1960s, the Census Bureau is testing the SPM, which includes information on child care, health care and housing costs.  The national average under the SPM measure is 15.8%, compared to 15% under the current system.

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