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CLSA Wire

Legislature Sends Budget to Governor’s Desk

By Jackie Colmenares
June 19, 2019

On June 13th, the California State Legislature adopted a robust budget totaling $215 billion in expenditures, leaving about $22 billion in reserves. Assembly Bill 74, the Budget Act of 2019, included a number of proposals for which CLSA advocated.

Of these proposals, CLSA was successful in its advocacy efforts on funding for HIV prevention resources, for Alzheimer’s disease awareness efforts, for the expansion of medical schools in Riverside and Merced, and for Sickle Cell Disease, expanding certain Medi-Cal benefits and the authorization for the Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax. CLSA was also successful in advocacy on the extension of authority for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM), but details on its adoption will be resolved at a later date.

The Legislature has committed upwards of $5 million in funding for HIV Prevention, which was heavily negotiated from the original HIV Alliance proposal of $20 million. The funding will provide grants to local health jurisdictions and community organizations for outreach, testing, linkage to care, access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, and services for people using drugs.

A one-time expenditure of $5 million to create an Alzheimer’s disease public awareness campaign allows for the support of early detection and timely diagnosis and will initiate local public health efforts through community grants in eight pilot counties. CLSA supports the Legislature’s commitment to serving the state’s aging population, which aligns with the Governor’s proposal on the Master Plan on Aging.

A one-time $15 million in funding will help establish five new Centers of Excellence in California to provide care for adults living with Sickle Cell Disease.

Finally, the authorization of the MCO tax will help to maintain the status quo on revenue supporting existing health care and related programs. Various court decisions and decisions from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have complicated California’s efforts at instituting an MCO tax.

Unfortunately, CLSA also supported a number of items that failed to proceed out of the Budget Conference Committee, including:

  • Increased Medi-Cal reimbursements for clinical labs and durable medical equipment (DME);
  • Funding for the California Immunization Registry (CAIR);
  • Funding for the Parkinson’s Disease Registry; and
  • Enhanced reimbursement methodology for high-cost inpatient-administered drugs.

CLSA will continue monitoring and supporting these budget items as we await action on the budget by the Governor prior to the July 1stdeadline for approval. Because the California Constitution allows the Governor to line-item veto individual budget items, CLSA will continue its advocacy on the aforementioned support items.

Any CLSA members who would like to provide input or would like further information on any of the budget items discussed above are asked to reach out to Oliver Rocroi, CLSA’s Senior Director, State Government Affairs (orocroi@califesciences.org) or Brett Johnson, CLSA’s Senior Director, Policy & Regulatory Affairs (bjohnson@califesciences.org).