State Budget Saves the Safety Net

Posted: June 23, 2020

LOS ANGELES – June 23, 2020 – On Monday evening, California’s legislature and the Governor reached an agreement on the budget bill, which the Governor will sign by the end of the month. Monday’s budget agreement is the result of complex negotiations to close the state’s $54 billion budget shortfall due to COVID-19.  

The approved budget avoids cuts to health and social services for seniors and the working poor, preserving MediCal eligibility and benefits, and well as payments for MediCal providers. The budget also reinstates funds to offset the financial harm to health centers under the state’s 2021 transition of the MediCal pharmacy benefit. While this funding is critical, the pharmacy transition will still be a heavy lift for the state and health centers during an unprecedented time. 

This is not the end. The legislature will return in July to revisit the budget when the state’s financial picture is clearer. Health centers and advocates will push for issues not addressed in this budget, such as the continuation of reimbursement for telehealth and telephonic care in MediCal. Telehealth is crucial for health centers to safely serve our communities, protect our staff and keep our doors open. We are optimistic that the legislature will take up this and other issues to support.

California is in a precarious financial position, yet we cannot balance the budget at the expense of the safety net, especially not during a pandemic. Health centers will continue to push Congress for funding to states that will alleviate the need for drastic cuts to the safety net. We will also continue to work with the Administration and Legislature to advance our common goal of providing coverage for all, reducing health disparities, and improving the health of the population.   

THE COMMUNITY CLINIC ASSOCIATION OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CCALAC) is the largest regional association of community clinics and health centers in California. Founded in 1994, CCALAC has 64 members that serve nearly 1.7 million patients throughout LA County. CCALAC is dedicated to serving and representing the interests of its member clinics as providers of quality health care, including medical, dental and pharmacy services. For more information about CCALAC, visit www.ccalac.org or call (213) 201-6500.  

Contact: Joanne Preece, MPH – Director of Government & External Affairs, (213) 201-6515.  

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